We’d like to thank Michael Rice and Sally Ross of the Glen Park Association for holding an open and well-run meeting last night, 18 Oct 2012.
A number of topics were discussed, but the most important from our point of view was the Glen Canyon Rec Center project (the current phase involving tennis courts, a playground, and a rest-room – and the felling of 58 trees). District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener was present, as were about 30-35 people.
Supervisor Scott Wiener spoke about various things, and then about what concerned us:
1) He said there had been an appeal on the renovation which targeted the building permit which has nothing to do with the peripheral trees, so now the project would be delayed
2) He wanted to make sure everyone received his posting about the “misinformation” sent out by SF Forest, that SFForest had given the impression 300 trees would be felled when it was just 58. He also said that it shouldn’t be considered part of the Natural Areas Program, where the Draft Environmental Impact Report has yet to be certified. He then opened for questions.
THEMES THAT EMERGED
During a vigorous Q&A session, it became clear that the community had serious questions both about the project and the process. Some of the themes that emerged:
- Support for the Appeal. Though the appeal was filed by one person, she had a lot of support, and SF RPD should revisit the project.
- Protect the Trees. Glen Canyon Park’s famous “owl tree” (in which a Great Horned Owl has regularly nested) has 11 “sister” trees that had been planted during Grover Cleveland’s presidency and were over 100 years old. A number of these would be cut down in the SF Rec & Park’s Plan. (They’re the ones stippled in orange in the picture above.) By tweaking the footprint of the plan a little bit, those majestic and historic trees could be saved.
- Flawed Community Process. The entire community process was flawed: the design and new footprint were not agreed upon by the public. Rather, the public was presented with this plan and not allowed to comment, however much they tried. The organizers presented 4 plans in the beginning and THEY chose one of those plans at the end. There was no vote. RPD just kept telling us that “they had received many emails”. Input was limited to kindergarten red and yellow stickers to put on maps. The group was divided up between tables and no discussion and conversation allowed.
The tennis community, for instance, did not want the tennis courts moved to where the trees are (which will require killing a number of majestic eucalyptus). They wanted the orientation changed from East-West to North-South. The courts should not be near the street.
- No “Misinformation”, it really is 300++ trees. A supporter of SFForest firmly denied that there was any misinformation being disseminated by SFForest, which works hard to provide information as complete and accurate as possible and bases its detailed analysis on actual documents and data. SFForest had to obtain documents under the Sunshine Act when SFRPD had not made them public.
She explained that the tree count for this project had wavered from 11 to 70 and is now 58. In addition to this there were 30 or so trees that would be removed for the Trails project, also funded by the 2008 Bond, an unknown number around 100-200 for the forestry project, and 120 for Natural Areas Program. That the 300-400 trees was what was coming down.
An audience member pointed out, as Scott could see, that many people don’t want the trees removed. He asked Michael Rice (President of the Glen Park Neighborhood Association) and Supervisor Scott Wiener for a meeting – before Dec 5th, the scheduled date for the appeal hearing – to tweak the plans so that the trees could be saved. Scott said he was willing, only if RPD could be there. There was spontaneous applause. Everyone said yes, they wanted to talk with SF RPD.
While SFForest did not file the appeal that will delay the Glen Canyon project, we appreciate the extra time for real community involvement. Once the trees are felled, they are gone forever.