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Chair: Don Raichle

Parks & Trees

THD's November 13th ficus appeal hearing was cancelled! We arrived at a good settlement with DPW’s Bureau of Urban Forestry, which allows for “phased removals” and extensive new planting.

Three trees will be removed and 38 trees will be planted: 7 along the 600 block of Columbus Avenue, 1 in Washington Square Park, and at least 30 trees within 3 blocks of the park, in currently empty tree basins.


Southern magnolia, a beautiful, climate-resilient, evergreen species agreed upon by all concerned neighborhood groups including THD, North Beach Neighbors, Save North Beach Village, Friends of Washington Square, and the North Beach Business Association, will replace the ficus that are removed along Columbus Avenue.

Here is the full settlement:

  1. Only immediately remove 3 trees (trees #3, 4 and 8).

  2. Immediately replant those 3 trees and tree basin #1 with 36” box trees (re species, see below).

  3. As the two appellant groups that have worked to negotiate this agreement, THD and Save North Beach Village request that replanted species be Magnolias. Magnolias sequester more carbon than Olives, create a larger, shade-creating canopy for the thousands of pedestrians who walk down Columbus Avenue, and would provide far more habitat for birds and our ecosystem.​ We understand, however, that these trees are a community resource. If Public Works prefers this to be a community decision, THD would be glad to go to our fellow neighborhood organizations, have these conversations, and provide you that feedback. Having the discussion in this way would also enable us to work together - directly - and build consensus neighbor to neighbor.

  4. Retain the remaining 4 trees (#2, 5, 6, and 7), which would be moved to the 3-year evaluation cycle. Guarantee that no other agency remove those trees.​ 

  5. Cut and plant 2-3 new basins north of the bus stop along Columbus within the next 3 months (new basin furthest north subject to SFMTA approval, which we understand you feel should be doable, and for which you will advocate on our behalf).

  6. Plant new trees in all feasible empty tree basins in the vicinity of the park. This will include 11-12 additional new trees planted in empty basins in the park vicinity in the next 1-2 months, and the 18 already planted.

  7. To account for the unplanned loss of the massive Monterey Cypress in Washington Square (a 152-year old tree that may have been one of the oldest trees in San Francisco) plant 1-2 new large stature trees in the park, in partnership with THD, Save North Beach Village, and San Francisco Recreation and Parks. Because this was SFRPD’s doing, SFRPD would pay for this planting. If paying for the trees is the barrier to this agreement, however, THD has offered to buy two trees.

  8. For future proposed removals in North Beach, Public Works/Bureau of Urban Forestry will proactively reach out to both appellant groups to notify them in a timely way, and/or post timely notices of removals on its web site.

  9. For future Public Works-sponsored tree plantings, both appellant groups will be glad to send notifications to their membership and encourage volunteers to join in these plantings.

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