2012-02-16 Ambler Environmental EAC Minutes

Ambler Environmental Advisory Council

Date: Thursday, February 16, 2012     6:45 to 8:35 PM

Member Attendance:

Susan Curry, Estelle Wynn Dolan, Susan Johnsson, Skip Kershner.

Quorum in attendance.

Member Absence:

David Morgan, Candace Kanaplue.

Next Meeting Date: Thursday, April 19, 2012     6:45 to 8:30 PM  [Skipping March 8]

  1. 1.          Review Borough Council notes — SusanC had sent around an email soon after the Feb. 7 Council Meeting and Feb. 9 Zoning Hearing Board. Notable: Bottom Dollar asking for waivers of floodplain building and sign size. Skip commented that the Fire Department will oppose any internal trees since they inhibit fire truck access and maneuverability. Billboards must be an allowed use in a Borough – we get to write an ordinance in next two months to regulate where and what size they may be.  There is no contesting that the owners of the Shell station will have a billboard.  Public Utility rate increase involves our bills for water/sewer/trash but is mainly to pay for Waste Water Treatment upgrades and won’t happen for ten months or so.  Estelle asked if residents could be told what the average increase would be per quarter after the rate increase?
  1. 2.            Review Actions from January’s meeting  
    1. A.    Downtown Trees:  Skip pruned CVS trees along Park Avenue and pit trees along Butler Ave.  CVS has a budget and will replace the 3 or 4 dead trees – we have no guarantee that their landscape crew will provide watering for the first two years.  SusanC reported that Plant Ambler is OK with our planting 1-2 trees in the strip along Lynch’s station.  SusanC had not yet spoken to Mary Aversa specifically about widening the Butler Ave. tree pits.  SusanC reported on the sonic deer repellent system – too expensive and needs electrical wiring.  None of the 2012 Tree Tender training classes work for Susan Johnsson’s schedule.  Ron Ayres offered to coordinate planting of bare root trees in Boro Park; we will need to manage watering.  SusanC mentioned we could use the “water buffalo” from Knight Park block house.  Skip and SusanC agreed to water 2 trees each.  EAC intends to order 10 bare roots trees to plant April 27 or 28. Trees will cost $50 each. EAC members are encouraged to seek neighbor’s spots for the trees who will provide care for the first two years.


  • SusanC will confirm with Mr. Lynch their approval for two trees in the strip on Park Ave. SusanC will contact Plant Ambler to notify them of the April 27-28 tree planting dates so they can remove certain perennials from the Lynch strip.
  • SusanC will speak with Mary Aversa about tree pit widening.  If they will not widen the sidewalk pits, then small plants will be planted from the stock in Ron Ayres backyard. We will request support from the Public Highway Dept. to pick up the 10 Bare Root Trees from Jenkintown on April 27.  SusanC will arrange for bringing the “water buffalo” at Knight Park to Boro Park.
  • EAC members will check with neighbors if they want a tree at $20 cost sharing and two years watering care, and let Susan C know before Feb 23.
  1.  WREN Grant Partnership with Temple Ambler:  David left email messages but did not connect with Temple Ambler.  Without their partnership to contribute volunteer helpers to install the rain barrels, we won’t submit a WREN grant proposal in March 2012. Every home would need to keep a log of gallons saved from run-off as a measurable outcome of the project. Estelle mentioned that PHS led a rain barrel workshop in Abington and might lead one in Ambler in 2013.

ACTION:  Estelle will check with PHS when she is volunteering for the Flower Show to see if they would partner with us for a 2013 WREN grant.

  1. March EAC Conference: SusanJ registered for the March 3 conference in Pottstown.
  1. Update EAC website:  Candace reviewed the AmblerEAC.org website and told Daniel Brouse what to remove or add.

ACTION:  Estelle will speak with Sigi Koko about how hard/easy it is to post our minutes, to see if we can keep that section up to date, or should remove it.

  1. Moving First Recycling Container:  Skip said there is no room for the first street Recycling Container either at Maro’s/Newstand or at Candida’s (street is narrow for curb cut ins and bollocks and chains are in the way).  The EAC questioned what income the street meters bring in.  Whenever the new parking garage is built, the EAC would support returning dedicating the curb cut ins for deliveries and not parking.

ACTION:  SusanC will inquire if the Borough has a Trash container that can be placed next to the recycling container at Rita’s so that people have both options there.

  1. F.     EAC Membership:  There is one vacancy.

ACTIONS:  SusanC will contact the borough to update our meeting schedule (third Thursdays) on their website, and Estelle will think of a message (4 lines each 14 characters long) for the Ambler Bank electronic sign.

  1. EAC Budget:  EAC was awarded $1200 for 2012.  The draft 2012 budget was emailed prior to the meeting and shared at the meeting.
  1.  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 doesn’t seem to have administrative tasks for him.  SusanC could supervise him for 6 hours for 5 days in his first week. Tasks would be to complete the storm sewer labeling of 15 storm sewers, mulch and water newly planted trees, and complete the removal of fencing debris in Borough Park.
  1.  Food Coop:  Estelle has garnered large support for her initiative to start a Food Coop like Weaver’s Way in Ambler. 150 showed up at their first public organizing meeting.  70 people joined three organizing committees: Steering, Legal/Finance, and Membership/Outreach/Volunteers. The Coop Volunteers are scheduled to staff booths at 5 local events. Information:  amblerfoodcoop@gmail.com,  215-326-9792, or www.facebook.com/amblerfoodcoop
  1. Terracycling– Estelle is donating her special recycling items to Mattison School. EAC members asked for a definitive list.  Skip and Estelle will collaborate on writing a letter to Wissahickon School District to support keeping Mattison Avenue School open.
  1. 3.                Home Grown Institute – Members were encouraged to consider going March 24 or 25.
  1. 4.                  Stream Clean-up– April 28, 9:00 am to noon.  We will combine it with a tree planting, so volunteers can choose or do both activities.  SusanJ and SusanC will coordinate it this year.
  1. 5.                Home Town News – Articles are due immediately for the April to October issue.  SusanC submitted the text from the Republic Services about trash and recycling, and will submit a small article about the April 28 Stream and Tree Planting volunteer event.

ACTION:  SusanC will inquire why an arrangement with Upper Dublin could not be made for reception of Boro yard waste.


  1. 6.                    SusanJ offered to organize a tour of the incinerator plant in the fall.
  2. 7.                A grant to study walk and bike friendliness of neighborhoods to schools was forwarded to David to bring to the school district or his middle school principal’s attention.

Meeting was adjourned at 8:39 PM.