Ambler Environmental Advisory Council – Minutes of Tuesday, May 8, 2007 Approved
Attendance: Members: Jeremiah Couey, Chair
Peg Williams [Leave of Absence, accidental injuries]
Rich Palumbo [Absent – Conflict]
Associates: Judy Baigis (Planning Commission)
Ron Ayres (Shade Tree Committee)
Next Meeting: Tuesday, June 12, 2007, 7:00 – 9:00, at Borough Hall (usually 2nd Tuesdays, 7:00-9:00 PM)
1. Meetings and Borough Liaison Calendar & Coverage:
∙ Thursday, May 17, 7:00 pm – Tree Tenders meeting at Susan Curry’s
∙ Monday, May 21, 8:00 pm – Borough Council Meeting
∙ Wednesday, May 23, 7-9 pm – Energy Independence, Upper Dublin Twp Building (Jeremiah)
∙ Tuesday, May 29, 7:30 pm – Planning Commission
∙ Monday, June 4, 7:30 pm – Borough Council Committees
∙ Tuesday, June 12, 7 pm, – EAC Meeting
∙ Monday, June 16, 8:00 pm – Borough Council Meeting
2. Minutes of April 10, 2007 (J. Couey, 05/08/07) were distributed and approved with 3 minor corrections requested by Susan and Kimberly.
3. EPA Asbestos Community Advisory Group (CAG): Rich Palumbo has been following the emails, which are leading up to a meeting date. EPA will provide an independent, qualified facilitator for the group.
4. Borough Council Update: Jeremiah attended both council meetings. The Boiler House and Station House Square development plans were approved. The Artman Home plan was approved, despite no sidewalks or connectors to interior walkways. Regarding the “triangle” property at N. Main and Tennis, the request for a variance to accommodate a low-impact non-profit was withdrawn due to parking restrictions imposed by the borough (only 2 available on-site). Judy Baigis reported a setback variance was approved for a property on Daniel Drive. Judy also clarified that the variance for the Copernicus Society for the “triangle” property was not granted because the borough requires more parking spaces for office vs. residential use; Council would have considered modifying the R2/R3 ordinance for low-impact use, but the additional 2 parking spaces required could not be leased from neighbors, thus moot. Judy notes that day time parking in that area is monopolized by Orsini’s auto repair and towing.
5. Stormwater Financing Initiative: Susan reports that as a result of EAC action, the borough will participate in the stormwater financing initiative assessment (sponsored in conjunction with the Wissahickon Watershed Partnership), which could lead to the identification of grants or other funding sources for stormwater remediation. Bill Brown (of EEMA, consultants to the WWTP) was very interested and spoke in support of the assessment. The assessment was not addressed specifically in the engineer’s report, but Anita Pieri confirmed intent to participate. The assessment requires a great deal of technical information. The deadline for completing the assessment has been extended until August 2007.
6. Zoning Hearing Board Alternate Vacancy: Susan is potentially interested in applying for appointment to this vacancy which will be open in about 2 weeks; two other resumes have also been submitted to Council.
7. Planning Commission Update: Charlie Stewart reported: the Artman Home was passed to Council; the Boiler House was passed to Council, with the parking lot issue delayed (developer will take possession Sept. 1, 2007 and expect to finish April 2008); and, the home/professional use of the N. Main “triangle” property was discussed (see above). Judy Baigis expressed concern that escrow to insure future parking needs at the Boiler House might be excessive (~ $100,000), but LTK has committed to serve as a future parking alternative. Judy also reported that 35 N. Main St. (Toto’s) removed a planting area in front and installed brick pavers, resulting in violation of impervious surface limitations; the code enforcement officer, in a demonstration of restraint, is not likely to issue a citation. Judy correctly notes that failure to deal with little issues can ultimately lead to bigger problems.
8. Stream Clean-up Recap: Kimberly reported that 30+ volunteers participated in a great and fun clean-up. She suggested that next year’s meeting place be closer to targeted areas, such as the N. Main St. Triangle or the Acme. The boy scouts are able to cover a larger area.. An Adopt-a-Creek approach was proposed, e.g. Bud Wahl’s adoption of Rose Valley Creek in Borough Park from Hendricks to Ridge. Susan Curry proposed expanding into Upper Dublin along Tannerie Run and Rose Valley Creek. Stan Ropski, Upper Dublin EPAB chair, was unable to coordinate a clean-up. Jeremiah reported that a major clean-up occurred on the Fletcher property, where debris from Butler Pike and the adjoining Seven-Eleven end up in the Tannerie Run valley. Kimberly suggested a letter to both Fletcher’s and to 7-11, as a source (suggesting more trash cans), which Jeremiah will undertake. Susan Curry suggested an additional trash repository site on Valley Brook, 3 driveways down from Hendricks, where substantial debris is routinely found. Susan may try to contact the code enforcement officer to request tile and tub debris removal from one site.
9. April 14 Community Planting: The event was very successful, and all are thanked for their participation. Jeremiah has a pump mechanism ready to facilitate watering at Knight. The Borough officially applauded Jeremiah and the EAC for their great work.
10. EAC Budgets: Jeremiah distributed the EAC and TreeVitalize Budget, as of May 3, 2007. Suggestions for use of the remaining $842 TreeVitalize balance are invited prior to the June council meeting.
11. Fungal Growth on Ash in Knight Park: David Morgan noted that the Borough may be at risk for a potentially hazardous branch exhibiting fungal growth on the large Ash tree in Knight Park along Bannockburn. This was apparently identified as a potential hazard by DCNR foresters Tim Dugan and Ralph Campbell on April 14, 2007. Another branch exhibiting similar growth was removed some years ago, but there was no sign of loss of structural integrity in the removed branch parts, according to Ron Ayres. Susan suggested asking an independent arborist to evaluate the degree of hazard. The EAC agreed to pay up to $100 for a consultation. Susan will send a letter to Jimmy Wack.
12. EAC Priorities for the Future: Discussion was begun on future priorities for the EAC. Some areas discussed were: riparian buffer assessment, riparian buffer ordinance, involving Delaware Riverkeepers with stream restoration, maintaining focus on stormwater issues, Borough Park erosion-control plantings on north side of creek.
13. WREN Grant: David reported that his surveying was in progress, with 5-8 PM seemingly best for homeowners, and the consultation taking “up to 1 hour”. Susan wants to complete 20-30 assessment consultations by June. Copies of Ambler’s Streamside Property Guide (Ambler AEC, April 2007) were available.
14. “What is the EAC” brochure is being updated by Susan Curry; the draft will be circulated for input.
15. Home Town News: HTN will be published in October and April. Discussion ensued on possible environmental education topics, such as recommendations to homeowners on deicing salt products, drain cleaners, detergents, etc.
[End] [R. Ayres, 06/11/07 ]