Sacramento Tree Ordinance Update

Summary of Law and Legislation Committee Recommendation on Tree Ordinance Revise

May 10, 2016

City of Sacramento Law and Legislation Committee recommended approval (3-0) of the proposed Tree Ordinance with following changes:

1. Posting of tree removal shall be 15 calendar days (Harris)

2. Expanding the definition of public nuisance to more specifically refer to Dutch elm disease and another specific tree disease (Guerra).

In addition, staff presented three amendments and announced an immediate launching of a new process to replace the 1994 Urban Forest Management Plan creation process (to replace the 1994 plan) which would begin August 2016. Councilmember Guerra asked staff to report back before the Council hearing with on a plan to communicate with neighborhood associations about tree removal. Harris asked staff and to commit to reporting back to Council on implementation of the ordinance after one year (Harris).

Councilmember Harris who has been Council lead on this effort, stated that competing interests are involved and he had worked diligently with staff to seek suitable compromise on issues presented by the all stakeholders, including the public. He believes all public comment has been thoroughly considered. Harris stated that the revised ordinance protects thousands more trees, has tree replacement requirements, a replacement fund and security to back up replacement requirements, prohibits topping and protects root zones of protected trees. He noted that it is not going to get any better. Larger goals such as the Climate Action Plan and canopy can be addressed in the Urban Forest Management Plan update.

Without our efforts, these key improvements noted by Councilmember Harris would not have occurred. We can take pride that the ordinance is now “squared up” with the General Plan policies and common sense CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) requirements such as guarantees that mitigation for tree removal is actually delivered. Sadly perhaps, it took a full scale community effort to get these corrections made.

We do have concerns that the recommended language makes it easier for staff to remove protected trees because broad authority is given to the Director of Public Works, criteria to be used are subjective, and existing language prohibiting harmful actions is not included in the recommended ordinance. Specifically, there is nothing in the ordinance which would require Urban Forestry to deny removal of a structurally-sound, protected tree. And we are seeing a lot of this. Last week it was 30 protected trees on R Street and several on West El Camino approved to be removed for public improvement projects.

We will keep you advised of the upcoming Council hearing on this issue.

For more information, please visit www.ecosacramento.net/trees4sacramento.

ECOS May Board Meeting

Join the Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) for our Board of Directors meeting!

In May, we are hosting a presentation with Rich Radmacher and Bill Ziebron on the long-awaited and much-needed South Sacramento Habitat Conservation Plan. We will also have a chance to discuss the plan with some of its long-time collaborators. Read more about the South Sac Habitat Conservation Plan here: http://www.southsachcp.com/

Monday, May 23rd, 2016
5:30 pm Reception with wine & refreshments
6:00 pm Meeting begins

As always:
– ECOS Committees will report on their activities.
– Announcements are welcome at the end
– Everyone who is interested is welcome! Bring a friend!

PARKING:
Please note the SEIU parking lot now requires the purchase of a permit. Street parking should be free starting at 6pm.

2016 5 May 23 ECOS Board Meeting Agenda

Del Paso Regional Park/Renfree Field Update, May 2016

May 3, 2016
To those concerned about Renfree Baseball Field and adjacent parkland beside it in Del Paso Regional Park:

There will be a public meeting Wednesday, May 11 at 5 pm, with city park personnel and SIBA representatives that will affect the future of this area.  The meeting will be held at the Sacramento Horsemen’s Association, 3200 Longview Dr, Sacramento, CA 95821.  Please share this with those who are interested in baseball, and with those who are interested in the natural area within the City of Sacramento’s largest regional park.

On December 16, 2014 the city council made an agreement with SIBA (Sacramento International Baseball Assoc) to renovate Renfree Field which opened the door to sell a portion of Del Paso Regional Park adjacent to the nature area.  There have been many delays, but we hope to hear more about the agreement and the project at this May 11 meeting.  The meeting will present the proposed rehabilitation of the Renfree baseball field, which everyone supports, but there is concern that a clause in the agreement allows the city to sell not only the baseball field, but considerable acreage of currently undeveloped natural area adjacent to it.  There is also concern that the renovation will allow for a ten fold increase in the viewers from the former 300 to a proposed 3000 viewers.

The flyer below from the city was sent to be shared with all.  It has information about the meeting.  We look forward to learning more about this project.  This may also be a time to express opposition to language in the agreement allowing this city park land to be sold.  This has been shared by one of many concerned residents.

renfree flyer

North Natomas Precinct Update, May 2016

May 3, 2016

Natomas North Precinct – Notice of Preparation of Draft Environmental Impact Report

Sacramento County is processing an application for the Natomas North Precinct Master Plan located in the Natomas community of unincorporated Sacramento County. The Project site is located north of the City of Sacramento, west of Steelhead Creek, south of the Sutter County Line, and east of Highway 99. The County Project Control Number is PLNP2014-00172 and the State Clearinghouse Number is 2016042079.

As the lead agency for the Natomas North Precinct Master Plan Project (Project), Sacramento County has determined that an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is the appropriate California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) document to evaluate the environmental consequences of the Project. Sacramento County published a Notice of Preparation on April 28, 2016.

Scoping Meeting on May 16, 2016

In order to provide additional opportunities for agencies and members of the public to comment on the scope and content of the environmental information to be included in the EIR, a public scoping meeting will be held. The meeting time, date, and location are as follows:

Time: 6:00 to 7:30 PM
Date: May 16, 2016
Location: South Natomas Community Center, 2921 Truxel Road, Sacramento, CA 95833

At the scoping meeting, staff will explain the environmental review process at the beginning of the meeting and the applicant will follow with a short project review. Staff will then be available to receive comments on the scope of the EIR in break-out stations.

Public Comments due May 31, 2016

It is not necessary to attend the EIR Scoping Meeting in order to provide comments on what is addressed in the EIR. Written comments can be submitted to the Sacramento County Planning and Environmental Review Division (Attn: Catherine Hack, Environmental Coordinator) via email at CEQA[at]saccounty[dot]net, or via mail at 827 7th Street, Room 225, Sacramento, CA 95814. Please contact Sheryl Lenzie, Project Manager, at 916-874-7722 or lenzies[at]saccounty[dot]net with requests or questions.

Here’s the link to the Notice of Preparation: http://www.per.saccounty.net/PlansandProjectsIn-Progress/Documents/Natomas%20Joint%20Vision/2016-04-28%20North%20Precinct%20NOP.pdf

Here’s a link to the ECOS comment letter submitted in December 2015: https://www.ecosacramento.net/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/bsk-pdf-manager/2015_12_December_16_Letter_to_Board_re_Natomas_Growth_106.pdf

Image featured in this post was painted by Granville Redmond

Big Day of Giving 2016

UPDATE: Please note that due to technical issues with the bigdayofgiving.org website, we ask that you give to ECOS via PayPal by clicking here or by following this link:
https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=LVU4HAMGK3NDE
In addition, the deadline to give has been moved to May 4th, 2016 at 3:00pm PST.

ECOS operates with 5 overarching policy objectives:

  1. Promote and reinforce Smart Growth principles
  2. Improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to slow climate change
  3. Establish a regionally coordinated conservation strategy
  4. Establish a sustainable regional water supply for both ecological and municipal needs
  5. Achieve equity in housing, public health, and economic opportunity

Help us reach our objectives by making a donation on May 3, 2016!

ECOS statement on Measure B

Date: April 28, 2016

To: Governing Board, Sacramento Transportation Authority

From: John Deeter, co-chair, ECOS Transportation, Air Quality & Climate Change Committee

Re: Comments on proposed Measure B

The proposal for allocating Measure B revenues up for discussion today contains improvements over Options 1 and 2 presented at the April 14th Board meeting, but the Environmental Council of Sacramento believes that it still allocates far too much for new road construction and far too little for transit. Moreover, we are troubled about the lack of public involvement in drafting this measure, without a full public discussion regarding the division of revenue, the tax rate, alternative sources of funding, and the appropriateness of using sales tax revenue to build roads.

A fundamental question implicit in the current discussion of an additional county-wide transportation tax is whether Sacramento County is committed to a robust transit system or is content with continuing to accept a much smaller system persistently hobbled by inadequate public financial support. Measure B if passed would immediately provide Regional Transit with an additional $25 million per year, which would be barely sufficient to restore services that were cut eight years ago provided this allocation were used solely for this purpose. But RT has other needs as well, such as replacement or overhaul of worn-out vehicles, conversion of light rail to low floor vehicles, and slow, steady expansion of the existing skeletal bus and rail network. To achieve these goals, RT needs at least $50 million per year or a quarter-cent sales tax dedicated exclusively to its programs.

ECOS might be able to support Measure B even if it included some funding for roads, provided this money was limited to less than 40% of the total and was used primarily for road maintenance (“fix-it-first”), additional sidewalks, and more bike lanes. But the proposal currently under consideration is weighted in the opposite direction: expanding road capacity instead of promoting alternative modes of transportation, and carrying with it all the well-known negative externalities such as air pollution, global warming, and unnecessarily expensive supporting infrastructure.

We urge the STA Board to reformulate Measure B to provide better funding for transit and other non-automobile modes of transportation.

STA ltr capture