Back in March, SF Public Works announced that the seven large ficus trees at Waller and Steiner, outside the former home of coffee shop Bean There, would be removed at the landlord's request. Many Lower Haighters expressed concern at the decision, saying the trees provided much-needed foliage and shade on the block.
Now, the two sides have reached a compromise. After a public hearing held on April 25th, Public Works has determined that only four of the seven trees need to be removed, and that the other three can remain in place.
Photo: Nuala Sawyer/Hoodline
According to a statement from director Mohammed Nuru, Urban Forestry staff initially determined that all seven trees should be removed because of their many codominant (split) branches, which makes them more prone to failure. Though the landlord also cited sidewalk damage as a concern, Urban Forestry said that was a negligible issue, and could be repaired without destabilizing the trees.
After 11 neighbors spoke in support of the trees at the hearing (with another 28 writing in), Public Works re-evaluated each tree, determining that three of the seven were stable enough to remain. The new plan is for the three trees on Waller that are furthest from the intersection to be removed, as well as the second tree from the corner on Steiner. One tree will remain on Steiner, and two on Waller.
The four trees departing the corner will need to be replaced with "minimum 24-foot box size replacement trees with a large stature (at maturity), to be approved by Urban Forestry staff," the statement notes.
Anyone who wishes to contest Public Works' decision must file an appeal with the Board of Appeals by the end of this month. We'll keep you posted on when the trees are set to come down.