2012-01-12 Ambler Environmental EAC Minutes

Ambler Environmental Advisory Council

Date: Thursday, January 12, 2012     6:45 to 8:35 PM

Member Attendance:

Susan Curry, Estelle Wynn Dolan, Susan Johnsson, David Morgan, Skip Kershner, Candace Kanaplue.  Quorum in attendance, all present

Next Meeting Date: Thursday, February 9, 2012     6:45 to 8:30 PM

  1. 1.          Review Borough Council notes– SusanJ had sent around an email soon after the Jan 3 Council Meeting. Notable: Whitpain intention to cooperate with upstream municipalities to ameliorate stormwater flooding that impacted the Rose Valley sluiceway during Hurricane Irene and tropic storm Lee — SusanJ meant to say that the cooperation has “possibilities”, not “hostilities”.
  1. 2.            Review Actions from November meeting  
    1. A.    Downtown Trees:  Skip reported that he and David found 4 empty pits along the upper stretch of Butler Ave, near CVS, Lynch gas station and Zina’s, and a few trees that need pruning.  Zina planted a rose bush to fill one empty pit; she should remove it when a tree is found to plant there. At CVS several tree issues were noted: 1) a street pit is missing a tree; 2) a tree near the Park Ave driveway is leaning at 45 degree angle; 3) there is still one dead tree and one spot with only mulch; 4) lastly, CVS trees along Park Avenue need pruning. Two pits at the corner of Kieser’s Tire need trees.  The strip along Lynch gas station could have one or more trees. The tree at the corner of Café Maida on Ridge Ave was not investigated, but an EAC member thought it could be replaced with a small tree like the one in front of CVS which seems to be a success.   Skip also noted that the old tall ACME sign that could not be used by CVS is in disrepair although apparently not causing any environmental problem.  Skip further reported that there is really no room at Ambler Donut for additional trees now that the owner has paved the parking slots and entrance spots; if ever the four pine trees near the Rest Home fail, a shade tree from the original plans could be planted there.

ACTION ITEMS:

  • SusanC will notify the code enforcement officer and Borough Manager that Skip will prune the Butler Ave trees. Skip will talk to the manager of CVS to get permission to prune the branches of trees complicating the pedestrian sidewalk along Park Ave.
  • SusanC will contact Plant Ambler to inquire who is overseeing the strip by Lynch’s station which needs some loving care.
  • EAC intends to order 10 bare roots trees for March to plant in the four pits outside CVS, Zina’s and Kieser’s. Trees are expected to cost $50 each.  SusanC will request that the Borough Manager arrange for the highway department to dig the dirt in those 4 pits and widen them before tree delivery, as well as to re-remove the extra stones laid in the 3 pits on the west side of Butler last year–intended length of open pits: 8’ to 11’ parallel to the street. We may need the Highway Department’s help to pick up the trees in March.  EAC members will seek neighborhood spots for the additional six trees to be properly cared for by the neighbors for the first two years.  A corner property behind Borough Hall was suggested.  Lynch’s planting strip might take 1 or more small to medium size trees.
  • SusanC will remind the code enforcement officer that two trees in the CVS parking lot are dead and need to be replaced with better assurances that the CVS landscaping crew will water the trees every week through the summer.
  1. Deer Sonic System:  David checked with Linda P at Temple Ambler about the arboretum’s system for repelling deer sonically – we wondered if using it in Borough Park could work. Apparently, there is a rather pricey ongoing monthly fee.  DeerTech is the company.

ACTION:  SusanC will check into in their website.

  1. WREN Grant Partnership with Temple Ambler:  David left email messages but did not connect with Mary Myers, head of student volunteer projects at LAHORT at Temple Ambler to ask her if they will be a partner for our WREN grant, i.e. will they support a student project to work with 100 residents on making and using Rain Barrels to reduce the run-off that drains to the outfall at the end of Edgewood Drive.  Susan stated that applying for the WREN grant hinges on Temple Ambler students’ partnership for volunteer work.  We understand that incoming freshmen normally perform a large community service project in late August as part of their orientation.  EAC members were interested in expanding the geographical scope of eligible homes. Every home will need to keep a log of gallons saved from run-off as part of the evaluation.

ACTIONS:

  • David will continue to reach out, and phone if necessary to Temple Ambler.
  • David will call Dan McCormick to find out how SEPTA barrels can be saved for us.
  • SusanC will send the draft WREN proposal to all EAC.
  • SusanC will contact Susan Harris of the Montco Conservation District to request ideas for grant partnership.
  • SusanC will inquire of Gentle Touch car washes if they have barrels we can have.
  • SusanC will inquire of Borough Manager if we can store barrels at Houston Tank fenced in area.
  • SusanC will revive homeowner agreements from the tree-planting 5 years ago and revise them for the rain barrels.
  1. Tree Tender’s class:  SusanJ and Candace are the only EAC members who have not taken the Tree Tenders training.  Candace is too busy. Susan Johnsson is interested.  SusanC mentioned that if we desired, we could help PHS locate a Tree Tenders course near us in Montgomery County, for example, at the Borough, Temple Ambler or Upper Dublin.

ACTION:  SusanC will send the link to the PHS website which lists the next season’s Tree Tenders courses to EAC members to promote to friends.

  1. March EAC conference: Khiet Luong sent the email announcement about March 3 conference in Pottstown; all members but Skip had seen the announcement.

ACTION:  Susan Johnsson is most likely to go.

  1. Update EAC website:  no report. We need to review the AmblerEAC.org website and tell Daniel Brouse what to remove or add, then post the list of EAC projects on the web inviting viewers to volunteer to help.

ACTION:  Candace later agreed to look at the website and tell Daniel Brouse what to remove that is no longer current.

  1. 3.                     Recycling Container:  Estelle reported that the new container was delivered and is stored with the Highway Department until the new concession stand is completed at Pickering Field. She was not certain that the check was mailed by the end of the calendar year. The committee applauded Estelle’s timely and successful efforts.
  1. 4.                    EAC Membership:  There is one vacancy. The news article reaped no responses. The two persons who signed interest at Octoberfest have been unresponsive. Ideas suggested:  Another Gazette article, Ambler Savings Bank electronic sign, ask residents who come to the Rain Barrel workshop. It was noted that the Ambler Borough website lists the wrong meeting dates for EAC.

ACTION:  SusanC will contact the borough to update our meeting schedule on their website, and submit a message for the Ambler Bank electronic sign.

  1. 5.                    EAC Budget:  EAC was awarded $1200 for 2012.  A draft budget was shared at the meeting. Suggestions were made. We have flexibility to shift amounts between categories, if needed.

ACTION:  SusanC will send around a revised draft budget for further review before next meeting.

  1. 6.                     May Intern:  A young man is seeking to fulfill his 3-week senior community service project in May by serving the borough.  The Borough Manager is considering administrative tasks for him.  EAC members suggested that he could participate with the street tree mulching, and watering. SusanC later remembered that he could also complete the storm sewer labeling of 15 storm sewers.

OTHER OLD BUSINESS

  1. 7.          Moving first Recycling Container: 

ACTION: Skip will check with Maro’s and NewsStand for permission to relocate the container which is sitting outside Rita’s to sit in front of their stores where more cans and bottles are generated.

NEW BUSINESS:

  1. 8.           EAC Letter of Support for Temple Ambler floodplain mapping: Temple Ambler contacted SusanC over the holidays to request EAC support and learn about other possible community groups to support a grant proposal they were submitting to accomplish new floodplain mapping of all three Ambler tributary’s watersheds.  SusanC described the commitments written in the letter.  All EAC agreed.

ACTION:  SusanC will email the Letter of Support to all EAC members

  1. 9.           YMCA Healthy Kids Fair – Letter requesting the EAC to staff a booth and have activities for youth.  EAC felt the fair reached a constituency much wider than our scope and we don’t have youth activities to serve the 1,000 expected audience.

ACTION: Estelle will decline for the EAC.

  1. 10.        Bottom Dollar

ACTION: EAC will request more trees at Bottom Dollar than borough ordinances require.

  1. 11.        Loss of trees:  Two private property owners have taken down apparently healthy trees, Jim Nearing and Brian Quinn.  Candace questioned whether there is any oversight of such activities, particularly in the floodplain on the Quinn’s property.  SusanC replied that without a formal Shade Tree Committee and ordinances, there is likely to be more of this in the future.

ACTION:  SusanC will check with Quinns, as her neighbors, to learn of their plans and activities.

  1. 12.        Recycling:  David mentioned the schools are collecting additional items that the normal recycling plant cannot save.  Could there be a collection bin at Borough Hall? David can receive stuff at his home, or it can be carted to the schools.

ACTION:  David promised to resend the announcement of what can be saved to all EAC.

  1. 13.        Food Coop:  Estelle has garnered large support for her initiative to start a Food Coop like Weaver’s Way in Ambler. Their first public organizing meeting is January 25 at SAAC. SusanC wondered if the storefront on Main Street could be used.  Estelle will inquire about space at the renovated Boiler House.  Information:  amblerfoodcoop@gmail.com,  215-326-9792, or www.facebook.com/amblerfoodcoop

ACTION:

  • EAC members took posters to help publicize the Jan 25 meeting.
  • Estelle will seek a free booth at the Pennypack Movie Series and at the YMCA Healthy Kids Fair

Meeting was adjourned at 8:35 PM.