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(a) Definitions. For purposes of this Section 16.129:
“City” shall mean the City and County of San Francisco.
“Maintenance” (and its root “Maintain”) shall mean those actions necessary to promote the life, growth, health, or beauty of a Tree. Maintenance includes both routine maintenance and major maintenance. Routine maintenance includes adequate watering to ensure the Tree’s growth and sustainability; weed control; removal of Tree-well trash; staking; fertilizing; routine adjustment and timely removal of stakes, ties, Tree guards, and Tree grates; bracing; and Sidewalk repairs related to the Tree’s growth or root system. Major maintenance includes structural pruning as necessary to maintain public safety and to sustain the health, safety, and natural growth habit of the Tree; pest and disease-management procedures as needed and in a manner consistent with public health and ecological diversity; and replacement of dead or damaged Trees. Pruning practices shall be in compliance with International Society of Arboriculture Best Management Practices and ANSI Pruning Standards, whichever is more protective of Tree preservation, or any equivalent standard or standards selected by the Director of the Department of Public Works.
“Planting” shall mean putting or setting into the ground or into a container to grow, and irrigating until self-sufficient.
“Removal” shall mean any intentional or negligent moving, carrying away, elimination, or taking away of part or all of a Tree.
“Sidewalk” shall mean the area between the curbing and the abutting private property lot line, whether paved or unpaved, as legislated by the Board of Supervisors and as reflected in the official maps of the Department of Public Works.
“Street Tree” shall mean any Tree growing within the public right-of-way, including unimproved public streets and Sidewalks, and any Tree growing on land under the jurisdiction of the Department of Public Works. “Street Tree” does not include any other forms of landscaping.
“Tree” shall mean any perennial, woody or fibrous plant species or cultivar, which reaches a height exceeding 10 feet at maturity, and which supports a branched or un-branched leaf canopy.
(b) City Responsibility to Maintain Street Trees. Beginning on July 1, 2017, and except as otherwise required by supervening law, the City shall be responsible for Maintaining Street Trees, including Street Trees planted both before and after July 1, 2017. The City may not adopt any ordinance making it the duty of owners of lots or portions of lots immediately abutting on, fronting on, or adjacent to any Street Tree to Maintain such Street Tree on or after July 1, 2017. Any such ordinance in existence on July 1, 2017, shall, to the extent it conflicts with this Section 16.129, be void.
(c) Limitations of Transfer of Responsibility. Nothing in this Section 16.129 shall: (1) affect the rights or responsibilities of the City or property owners with respect to the Removal, establishment, or relocation of a Street Tree; (2) prevent the City from entering into voluntary agreements with third parties for them to assume responsibility for Street Tree Maintenance or continuing to abide by any such prior agreement; (3) prevent the City from imposing any legally permitted penalties or fees on persons who injure, damage, or destroy Trees; or (4) relieve abutting property owners from their responsibility for the care and Maintenance of the Sidewalk and Sidewalk areas adjacent to any Street Tree, other than the responsibility for Sidewalk repairs related to the Tree’s growth or root system, which shall be the responsibility of the City.
(d) Limitation of Liability. Beginning on July 1, 2017, any local law imposing liability on property owners that do not Maintain Street Trees for injury or property damage shall not apply to the extent that the injury or property damage occurred on or after July 1, 2017, and was proximately caused by the City’s failure to Maintain a Street Tree under this Section 16.129, but shall otherwise remain applicable. Nothing in this Section 16.129 shall be construed to impose liability on the City for injury or property damage that occurred as a result of the property owner’s responsibility to Maintain a Street Tree prior to July 1, 2017. To the extent that the Maintenance of a Street Tree requires that the City access private property, the City shall attempt in good faith to obtain permission from the owner of the private property. If the owner refuses to grant the City permission to access the private property for the purpose of Maintaining the Street Tree, the City shall have no liability for any damages related to the Maintenance of that Street Tree, and the property owner shall be subject to liability for such damages.
(f) Creating the Street Tree Maintenance Fund; Annual City Contributions. There shall be a Street Tree Maintenance Fund (the “Fund”). Each fiscal year, beginning in fiscal year 2017-2018, the City shall contribute $19 million to the Fund. The Fund shall also include any other monies appropriated or allocated to the Fund. Beginning in fiscal year 2018-2019, the Controller shall adjust the amount of the City’s annual $19 million contribution to the Fund under this subsection (f) by the percentage increase or decrease in aggregate City discretionary revenues, as determined by the Controller, based on calculations consistent from year to year. In determining aggregate City discretionary revenues, the Controller shall only include revenues received by the City that are unrestricted and may be used at the option of the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors for any lawful City purpose. The method used by the Controller to determine discretionary revenues shall be the same as the method used by the Controller to determine the Library and Children’s Fund Baseline calculations, as provided in Charter Section 16.108(h). The change in aggregate discretionary revenues will be adjusted following the end of the fiscal year when final revenues are known. The Controller is authorized to increase or reduce budgetary appropriations as required under this subsection (f) to reflect changes in aggregate discretionary revenues following the end of the fiscal year when final revenues are known. The Controller shall set aside and maintain the above amounts, together with any interest earned thereon, in the Fund, which shall be subject to appropriation. Any amount unspent or uncommitted at the end of the fiscal year shall be deemed to have been devoted exclusively to a specified purpose within the meaning of Charter Section 9.113(a), shall be carried forward to the next fiscal year, and, subject to the budgetary and fiscal limitations of this Charter, shall be appropriated then or thereafter for the purposes set forth in this Section 16.129.
(g) Beginning in fiscal year 2018-2019, the City may suspend growth in the City’s $19 million contribution to the Fund under subsection (f) of this Section 16.129 if the City’s projected budget deficit for the upcoming fiscal year at the time of the Joint Report or Update to the five-year financial plan as prepared jointly by the Controller, the Mayor’s Budget Director, and the Board of Supervisors’ Budget Analyst exceeds $200 million adjusted annually by changes in aggregate discretionary revenues as defined in subsection (f) of this Section 16.129.
(h) Administration and Use of the Fund. The Department of Public Works shall administer the Fund. Monies in the Fund shall only be used for the following purposes:
(1) Maintenance and Removal of Street Trees;
(2) Necessary costs of administering the Fund; and
(3) Making grants totaling up to $500,000 annually to the San Francisco Unified School District exclusively to fund Maintenance and Removal of Trees on School District property.
Monies in the Fund shall not be used for Planting new Street Trees, or for grants to the San Francisco Unified School District for the Planting of new Trees on School District property, but may be used to pay the costs of Maintaining and Removing Street Trees that were planted before or after July 1, 2017, and to make grants to the School District to Maintain and Remove Trees that were planted before or after July 1, 2017.
(i) Annual Reports. Commencing with a report filed no later than January 1, 2019, covering the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018, the Department of Public Works shall file annually with the Board of Supervisors, by January 1 of each year, a report containing the amount of monies collected in and expended from the Fund during the prior fiscal year, and such other information as the Director of the Department of Public Works, in the Director’s sole discretion, shall deem relevant to the operation of this Section 16.129.
(j) Early Termination. At any time before January 1, 2017, the Mayor, after consulting with his or her Budget Director and the Controller, and after taking into account the City’s projected revenues and expenditures in the City’s financial plans, may terminate implementation of this Section 16.129 by issuing a written notice to the Board of Supervisors and the Controller. The termination shall be irrevocable and apply to this entire Section. Upon the Mayor’s submittal of the notice to the Controller and the Board of Supervisors, this Section 16.129 shall, by operation of law, become inoperative, and the City Attorney shall cause this Section to be removed from the Charter.
(Added by Proposition E, Approved 11/8/2016)