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CITY COUNCIL AGENDA ITEM NO. 22

Meeting Date: December 9, 2003

Subject/Title: Accept a staff report on landscape projects and tree associated damage and direct staff to move forward with planned construction and maintenance

Submitted by: Craig Bronzan, Director of Parks and Recreation
Ken DeSilva, Parks Services Manager
Pam Ehler, Director of Finance and Information Services

Approved by: John Stevenson, City Manager

RECOMMENDATION
Accept the staff report and provide direction to staff to move forward with planned construction and maintenance.

PREVIOUS ACTION
City staff gave an informational report on the unimproved landscape improvements on Armstrong Road at the City Council meeting of July 22, 2003. Staff was directed to inventory other areas in the City that have unimproved landscape and return with a staff report and suggested course of action.

BACKGROUND
The City of Brentwood has several parcels of land throughout the City that have not been landscaped. These parcels are typically remnant pieces of land that were either adjacent to past subdivisions or commercial projects, or were part of previous Capital Improvement Project (CIP) civil improvements that did not have adequate funding to install the landscape improvements at the time of construction. The Community Beautification project, (CIP Project 522-5222) was established to try and landscape these areas as funds were available. The project is currently unfunded in the approved 2003/2008 CIP program.

As a result of the July 22, 2003 City Council meeting, staff has inventoried City-owned parcels that are in need of landscaping. Attached for City Council review is a list of these projects (Attachment A) with the associated construction and ongoing maintenance costs. Park and Recreation Department staff have met with Pam Ehler, Director of Finance and Information Services, to identify how construction and maintenance costs can be paid for. Based on available funding opportunities, staff has the following recommendations:

• Move forward with design of projects #1 through #3 and develop CIP projects funded through CIFP 2000-1 in the 2004/2005 CIP program.
• Project #4 is currently outside the City limits and being considered as a possible site for an underground water storage tank. At this time, staff is recommending a CIP project be established in the 2004/05 CIP program for landscaping as unfunded.
• Move forward with design of project #5 and develop CIP project funded through roadway fund/grants in the 2004/2005 CIP program.
• Project #6 will be a condition of approval on the development north and south of Central Boulevard between Griffith Lane and Walnut Boulevard, to be paid through roadway funds.
• Move forward with design of projects #7, and #10 through #24 and develop CIP projects funded by the general fund, over a three-year period, in the 2004/05, 2005/06, and 2006/07 CIP programs.
• Move forward with design of project #8 as a part of the Signature commercial project, to be paid out of roadway funds.
• Project #9 is included with the Walnut Boulevard project and will be constructed and funded through this project in a CIP project in 2004/05.
• Staff will budget, starting in fiscal year 2004/05 for the necessary ongoing maintenance costs as identified in Attachment A as projects come online after construction.
• To help with cash flow, it is recommended that $350,000 be borrowed, over three years, from the Park Development fund to pay for the general fund costs. This money will be paid back to the Park Development fund by the general fund over a 7-year period.

As staff was inventorying the landscape parcels, a final inventory of City owned trees (a total of 11,336 trees) was completed. This inventory tracked the type of tree, age, and potential for damage to surrounding hardscape/landscape areas for those trees that had been improperly planted or placed. As a result of past problems the City has had to deal with related to damage by City of Brentwood maintained trees, staff felt this information was a related issue to landscape and wanted to provide the result at this time for direction.

In past years, a number of trees were planted in either the improper space or environment, and as a result, are starting to cause problems with hardscape and sound walls. Having to deal with these problems from the past was one of the driving forces behind the development of the City’s Urban Forest Guidelines in May 2002 to make sure that the proper tree is planted in the proper place.

In 2000 the City embarked on a tree removal and replacement program (involving hardscape repair) on Pippo and Sherwood streets. This project cost the City approximately $60,000 (most sidewalk work was performed in-house). If the City had been able to replace the trees in this particular area before sidewalk damage occurred it would have cost (at today's prices) approximately $18,000.

Another example of a program that avoided tree associated damage occurred in June of 2001 when the Public Works Department replaced 74 relatively new Sycamore trees in the Garin Park subdivision. Staff replaced street trees that had not yet reached maturity, which would have caused extensive, and costly, repairs to the hardscape and underground utilities. If left to mature, the cost of associated damage, and tree replacement would have been approximately $1,300 per tree to mitigate. Being proactive and replacing the trees prior to having them cause problems cost the City of Brentwood only $189 per tree.

Included as attachments B, C, D and E are spreadsheets that identify potential problem areas that are associated with City of Brentwood maintained trees. The trees identified are only trees that the City maintains, not those in City Right-of-Ways. Each spreadsheet uses as an assumption that previous repairs have been completed. The cost to remove and replace our current problem trees (Attachment B) is $5,845.70, which will be completed as a part of the 2003/04 work plan.

Looking into the future, to avoid damage to hardscapes, fences, and/or sound walls in today’s dollars, tree removal/replacement will be necessary as follows:

• In 5 years (attachment C) - $35,043.70
• In 10 years (attachment D) - $123,337.10
• In 15 years(attachment E) - $261,389.80

To avoid having to spend over $400,000 in the future, staff is recommending the development of a yearly CIP project, starting in 2004/05, for ongoing tree removal/replacement so that we can reduce hardscape damage before it occurs and to reduce future tree expenses.

A final consideration may be whether the City wants to pursue a GPS inventory of residential street trees that are in the City’s Right-of-Way. This would assist in determining future costs associated with tree damage so that an action plan can be developed now to reduce future costs. If this is something that City Council desires, staff can return with a cost to do an inventory of residential street trees.

FISCAL IMPACT
Specific fiscal impacts are identified, in more detail, on the attached spreadsheets: In total, the costs are as follows:
• The total construction costs for all landscape improvement projects equals $1,353,514.
• The increase of maintenance costs, over several funding sources, equals $88,330.
• The Parks Division will use trees from the nursery where appropriate to help reduce project costs.
• Costs associated with the tree removal and replacement could total, in today’s dollars, as much as $419,770.60 over the next 15 years.

Attachments:
A – List of City-owned parcels in need of landscaping
B – Estimated Hardscape Damage Costs - Current
C – Estimated Hardscape Damage Costs - in 5 Years
D – Estimated Hardscape Damage Costs - in 10 Years
E – Estimated Hardscape Damage Costs - in 15 Years
F – Community Beautification Map - CIP 522-5222
G – CIP Sheet for Community Beautification - CIP 522-5222
H – Maps showing areas in need of landscape
 

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