First I would like to present a little background on our fair city
Statistically San Jose is the largest City in the Bay area With 180 acres or 178.2 square miles of land It has the third largest population in California ranking behind LA and San Diego
In addition to those daunting statistics it is estimated that CSJ has approximately 243,000 street trees and likely over 1 million trees including Parks, Private property and other city facilities So, how do you manage a tree population of this size??
BACKGROUND - HISTORY There is a City Arborist Office within the Department of Transportation whose function is management of street trees within the public right-of-way. There is no arborist to oversee the City parks and facilities trees or private property trees. My research indicates there has never been a complete street tree inventory, much less a complete tree inventory of all tree on City owned properties. There is no record of a formal tree management program in the City of San Jose. Most tree work prior to the recent budget crisis was performed in conjunction with funding received from street paving efforts which typically provided only enough funding to allow for street clearance pruning on the street side of the tree. 2. However, I guess the City founding fathers knew this budget crisis was going to surface because in 1951 the City Council approved a Tree Ordinance that dictated the maintenance of street trees is the responsibility of the adjacent property owner. But apparently, this ordinance change was a well-kept secret. 3. Although this ordinance was on the books, no one took much notice and the City continued to provide street tree services when money was available up until the Dot.Com burst and the most recent budget crises. But even when money was available, no completed inventory or formal plan was launched by the City. 4. In 2007 the decision was made to cut the City tree crew from the budget. “Effective July 1, 2008, the City of San José is no longer able to provide emergency tree services and corrective tree maintenance on City street trees at no cost to the property owner.” Basically, if the tree work had to be performed by the City (either in an Emergency, by choice if the property owner or by negligence of the property owner) the City bills the property owner plus a $100 administrative fees to have the work performed by a contractor.
1. The outcry from the public was loud and clear. They were angry. Citizens felt they had been blind-sided by this “new” policy that was actually an old policy that had not been strictly enforced. 2. Staff from all of the tree related departments ( was directed to respond to the public outcry. Between June and November 2007, eight community meetings were conducted across the City to receive public input and hear community concerns about the City's tree-related policies, programs, services, and procedures. 3. Hundreds of ideas, comments and questions were received on a variety of topics with varying perspectives and opinions.
1. The most common complaints were summarized by staff and brought back to Council for review and recommendations. IN THE ORDER OF MOST FREQUENT COMPLAINT 2.
1. The most common complaints were summarized by staff and brought back to Council for review and recommendations. IN ORDER OF MOST FREQUENT COMPLAINT 2.
With the results of the Community meeting in hand a group of City staff representing seven different departments and/or sections got together to try to come up with a plan. The Community Forest Strategic Framework was developed by this group with the goals of GROW ENGAGE EQUITY But where do you start in a City of more than 178 square miles with a tree population estimated at well over one million AND We know what we are supposed to do to build an urban forestry program but…………. No funding???????
BEFORE A PLAN CAN BE DEVELOPED YOU NEED TO KNOW WHERE YOU STAND. IN THIS CASE WE NEEDED A WAY TO MEASURE OR ASSESS WHAT WE’VE GOT TO START WITH Now enters the hero on the scene – Cal Fire to the rescue The City of san Jose was awarded 2 grants – 1 to initiate first steps toward a real tree inventory in the hopes of some day developing a Tree Management Plan. I am happy to say that our street tree inventory is moving right along and we are more than 50% complete. And the second grant finally brings me to the main topic of this presentation – funding to improve access to tree-related information
We started by taking a hard look at the policies and ordinances already in place. AT BEST THEY WERE COMPLEX We discovered that internally there were seven different staff or bureaucratic sections of the City government with purview over tree planting, selection, maintenance, removal and permitting. No wonder the residents are confused.
The decision was made to start by placing all of the tree related information in one place. And with the help and support of the CalFire grant the………………………
City of San Jose TREE POLICY MANUAL & RECOMMENDED BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES Was born on April 15, 2011! The intent was to make this document as user friendly as possible. The online copy is searchable and has links to many useful City documents, other agency websites, email addresses for helpful contacts and links to many other tree-related information sites.
We felt it was necessary to start the manual by stating why trees are so important to the City of San Jose It was determined by the staff that in order to better engage our residents with the trees in their neighborhood that we would use the term Community Forest rather than “Urban Forest” The chapter continues with a listing of the benefits of trees to the community EVEN JOHN MELVIN AND MAYOR CHUCK HAVE CAMOES INI THIS CHAPTER!
We decided to tackle the subject of who has responsibility and jurisdiction over trees in San Jose by dividing the trees by the type of location where the trees are planted or the type of service being sought by the resident. In each section the names of the departments or agencies and their contact information is included. Information about Permit requirements can be found along with “clickable links” to the actual documents or to another website where additional information can be found.
Chapter 3 is by far the lengthiest chapter in this document. The Step-By-Step process for each type of permit and the requirements for each permit are spelled out in detail. If a person wants to know “what is the next step” it is written in detail, sometime to the point of redundancy, but we figure this is a manual that is not going to be read cover to cover, but a useful document where you can put your finger on ALL the information needed quickly. This Chapter quotes the pertinent chapters and section of the Municipal tree Ordinance, so that the reader will know the actual language of the law as well as the interpretation by staff. Applicable State Laws are also cited along with links to more information on those laws and regulations. Again clickable links are included to help the resident or business owner find the right documents they need or the website for the right agency to contact.
Chapter 4 is one of my favorites. This chapter is full of information and website links to help the average person or professional determine how why when and where to plant trees in the City of San Jose. The site assessment section includes our City Standard specifications for planting clearances for utilities and line of site diagrams for traffic safety. It also includes site assessment parameters for soil and climate. The section on species selection includes the 10-20-30 rule and points to the iTree Suites species diversity in our forest to let residents know that there is a real reason we don’t want more crape myrtles, sycamore or Chinese pistache planted. The most common pests and some new pests to be on look for are included in the Pest & Disease section I am sure most of you are aware of Brian Kemp’s great work on nursery stock selection. A link to this publication is included along with the procedure used by our inspection staff to inspect nursery stock. There should be no surprises to our contractor’s when they see us pulling trees out of containers to perform a root inspection. Proper planting procedures include the City of San Jose specifications and planting detail diagrams both for homeowners and for the landscape professional.
Chapter 5 includes a piece on tree Stewardship in general, again citing the benefits we ALL receive from trees Monitoring includes guidelines for the homeowner, the City staffer or the professional, whether it is using a soil probe to check on soil moisture or checking irrigation to see that it is functioning properly. Pruning includes information on proper and not so proper tree trimming, Why Hire a Professional and how to find a qualified professional. Maintenance of the ground plane contains information on types of mulch, weed abatement techniques and why NOT to make the common mistakes, like placing asphalt up to the trunk or allowing Ivy or other vines to grow up the tree and engulf it.
Finally, Chapter 6 is a piece written specifically for this publication by the staff of the local non-profit tree planting group, Our City Forest. This Chapter showcases the services and programs they provide and the awards they have received. Pictured here are: a street tree planting project on Monterey Highway A Pruning Workshop And the 2009 Americorp group that was trained by our City staff and then assisted in gathering tree inventory for the City of San Jose Other volunteer opportunities include Adopt-a-Highway information for Clatrans and the County of Santa Clara and well as our own CSJ Adopt-A-Street Program
Of course you can’t forget the Appendices Contact – with links to email and websites FAQs MC Tree Removal Posting Notice
We finally found a home for this document on the City of San Jose website
Maintaining the Community Forest During Hard Times Dorothy Abeyta Special Assessment Districts City of San Jose San Jose, CA
The City of San Jose <ul><li>California’s first civilian settlement </li></ul><ul><li>Founded in 1777 as </li></ul><ul><li>‘ El Pueblo de San Jose de Guadalupe’ </li></ul><ul><li>Incorporated in 1850 as City of San Jose </li></ul><ul><li>First State Capitol </li></ul>
The City of San Jose <ul><li>Largest city in the Bay Area </li></ul><ul><li>180 acres or 178.2 square miles </li></ul><ul><li>3 rd largest population in CA </li></ul><ul><li>10 th largest in US ~ 1 million people </li></ul>
Tree Population <ul><li>The City of San Jose has an estimated 243,000 street trees </li></ul><ul><li>and… </li></ul><ul><li>Likely over one million trees City-wide when including parks and private property </li></ul>
Urban Forestry Program <ul><li>No formal program </li></ul><ul><li>Property owner responsibility - 1951 </li></ul><ul><li>Tree maintenance by City crews or contract when funding available </li></ul><ul><li>Lost tree crew to budget cuts – 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>No emergency services </li></ul><ul><li>No corrective services </li></ul><ul><li>Property owner sent invoice for any work performed by City </li></ul>
Dark and difficult times lie ahead…. <ul><li>City funding for right-of-way tree & landscaping programs dwindled away </li></ul><ul><li>Most property owners are not aware of their responsibility toward street trees </li></ul>http://www.glogster.com/media/3/13/21/34/13213411.jpg
Public Outcry (outrage) <ul><li>Council and City Managers offices received hundreds of complaints. </li></ul><ul><li>Eight community meetings held across the City. </li></ul><ul><li>Staff from the City manager’s office, the City arborist office, Parks and other departments listened carefully. </li></ul>
8 most Common Complaints <ul><li>THE CITY NEEDS TO: </li></ul><ul><li>Place a greater emphasis on the importance of the urban forest. </li></ul><ul><li>Improve access to tree-related information, such as tree planting, pruning or maintenance policies, regulations, and guidelines. </li></ul><ul><li>Improve the tree removal permit process to make it more streamline, less expensive, and equitable. </li></ul><ul><li>Regulate private property trees to a minimal degree, yet enforce the rules equitably. </li></ul>
Common Complaints <ul><li>THE CITY NEEDS TO: </li></ul><ul><li>Consistently enforce existing tree regulations, codes and increase fines for noncompliance. </li></ul><ul><li>Maintain street trees and sidewalks. </li></ul><ul><li>Develop a tree master plan and inventory of all street trees. </li></ul><ul><li>Develop a plan to utilize private/public partnerships to a greater and better degree. </li></ul>
San Jose’s Strategic Framework <ul><li>Primary Goals: </li></ul><ul><li>Grow Protect, preserve, restore and expand San Jose’s community forest </li></ul><ul><li>Engage Develop and maintain support for the community forest </li></ul><ul><li>Equity Manage the community forest to maximize benefits for all residents of the city </li></ul>
Cal Fire to the Rescue <ul><li>Grant funding to initiate first steps toward a complete street tree inventory </li></ul><ul><li>Grant funding to improve access to tree-related information </li></ul>
What do we need to do? <ul><li>Inform the public of their responsibility to maintain right-of-way trees </li></ul><ul><li>Educate the public about proper tree care and the importance of the community forest </li></ul><ul><li>Develop a cohesive and accessible set of guidelines to provide this information </li></ul>
Organization of the Manual <ul><li>1 City of San Jose Tree Care and Management </li></ul><ul><li>2 Responsibility and Protection of Trees </li></ul><ul><li>3 Permits and the Law </li></ul><ul><li>4 Planting Trees in the City of San Jose </li></ul><ul><li>5 Care of Trees in the City of San Jose </li></ul><ul><li>6 Our City Forest </li></ul>
Chapter 1: City of San Jose Tree Care and Management <ul><li>Importance of the community forest </li></ul><ul><li>Benefits of trees </li></ul>
Chapter 2: Responsibility and Protection of Trees <ul><li>Trees on City property and right-of-way </li></ul><ul><li>Private property trees </li></ul><ul><li>Trees in County pockets, parks, riparian corridors, Caltrans trees, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Tree emergency service program </li></ul><ul><li>Vehicle accident Program </li></ul>
Chapter 3: Permits and the Law <ul><li>Permit requirements </li></ul><ul><li>Repair and non-completion notices </li></ul><ul><li>Citations for illegal tree work </li></ul><ul><li>Emergency reporting requirements </li></ul><ul><li>Heritage trees </li></ul><ul><li>State laws </li></ul>
Chapter 4: Planting Trees in the City of San Jose <ul><li>Benefits of planting trees </li></ul><ul><li>Site assessment </li></ul><ul><li>Species selection </li></ul><ul><li>Pests, diseases and invasive species </li></ul><ul><li>Nursery stock selection </li></ul><ul><li>Proper planting procedures </li></ul>
Chapter 5: Care of Trees in the City of San Jose <ul><li>Stewardship </li></ul><ul><li>Monitoring </li></ul><ul><li>Pruning </li></ul><ul><li>Maintenance of surrounding ground plane </li></ul>
Chapter 6: Our City Forest and other volunteer opportunities Volunteer Street Tree Planting Americorps Program Volunteer Training
Appendices <ul><li>A. Contact Information </li></ul><ul><li>B. Frequently Asked Questions </li></ul><ul><li>C. City of San Jose Municipal Codes </li></ul><ul><li>Municipal Code Section 13.28 – street trees </li></ul><ul><li>Municipal Code Section 13.32 – private property </li></ul><ul><li>D. Public Right-of-Way Tree Removal Posting Notice </li></ul><ul><li>E. Private Property Tree Removal </li></ul><ul><li>F. Street Tree Planting Guidelines </li></ul><ul><li>G. DOT Infrastructure Maintenance Tree Services </li></ul><ul><li>Information and Procedure Manual </li></ul><ul><li>H. San Jose’s Physical Environment </li></ul><ul><li>I. San Jose Downtown Streetscape Master Plan </li></ul><ul><li>Excerpt – Landscape Policies </li></ul><ul><li>J. PRNS Tree Removal Procedures </li></ul><ul><li>K. Special Landscape Assessment Districts </li></ul><ul><li>L. Glossary </li></ul>
Come visit us on the WWW http://www.sanjoseca.gov/tree/pdf/Tree%20Policy%20Manual_June%202011.pdf Special Acknowledgement to Elizabeth Lanham City of San Jose, Arborist Technician
Questions? <ul><li>Contact: </li></ul><ul><li>Dorothy Abeyta </li></ul><ul><li>City of San Jose </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>408.794.1924 </li></ul>