2012-06-21 Ambler Environmental EAC Minutes

Ambler Environmental Advisory Council

Date: Thursday, June 21, 2012     6:45 to 8:15 PM

Member Attendance:

Susan Curry, Susan Johnsson, Skip Kershner.

Quorum in attendance.

Member Absence:

Candace Kanaplue, David Morgan, Estelle Wynn Dolan.


Susan McDowell, Ken Trautwein, Scotti Kershner.

Next Meeting Date: Thursday, July 19, 2012   6:45 to 8:30pm Boro Hall Conference Room

Before starting the official meeting, we all introduced ourselves. Ken has the ambition to open a nature-based HS; he has a 7 yr old and 9 yr old.  Sue moved to Ambler in 2007 and works for EPA Region III.

  1. 1.          Review Borough Council notes (Susan) – BILLBOARDS: Borough is engaging in a legal fight to defend their ordinance of not allowing any billboards. BOTTOM DOLLAR: Bottom Dollar is about to submit their plans to the Borough; after approval, demolition of Knopf Motors site would ensue.  Sue McDowell suggested consideration of pervious pavement, or permeable concrete or asphalt. MULTI-LEVEL PARKING STRUCTURE:  Council has approved funds for a feasibility study for a multi-level parking structure behind the Ambler Savings lot with an entrance to the second open story from Race St. Sue McDowell noted air quality issues with parking structures; Susan J noted soil testing for contaminants left from a  prior gas station.  The feasibility study will not include investigation of how the structure would be funded.
  1. 2.          Review of EAC Budget —  Expenses included memberships in PEC and WVWA ($100), an educational sign regarding the riparian buffer project ($160), partial support for a member to attend the Home Grown Institute ($50), funds to extend domain registration for the EAC website for three years ($39), nine bare roots trees ($450), and 4 Butler Ave pit trees ($170).  Balance of our $1,200 budget is $471. Susan J submitted a $20 check for cost-sharing for her bare roots Sugar Maple. New item when possible:  Buy another set of ClearStream Recycling stands for Ambler events ($~550).
  1. 3.          Review of EAC Website —  Recently updated by Susan Curry with Daniel Brouse’s help.  Comments are invited.  The “Links” page has not been done.  Members gave suggestions for sites to link to. There is a temporary glitch with the Minutes’ listing – 2012 minutes appear in the archives.  www.AmblerEAC.org
  1. 4.          Rain Barrels/Rain Gardens Effort:  PHS named other organizations to contact; their efforts focus on Philadelphia.  Sue McDowell has promoted rain gardens www.raingardensforthebays.org and believes they are more effective than rain barrels; she passed out social marketing postcards with four themes (attracting wildlife, reducing time mowing, adding value to your home, and curb appeal).  After much discussion, we agreed to explore a well-designed long-term effort to have: first, five excellent, distinct rain gardens installed at our homes, as demos, and later enroll a couple of dozen other homeowners in the Haywood section of Ambler.  All of five of us live in Ward One with properties larger than other wards (Susan C, Susan J, Susan McD, Ken, Skip).  We’ll seek partnerships with PWD, PHS, WVWA, Penn State, Montco Conservation District, EPA. Temple Ambler, and more.  Sue McDowell can suggest important financial resources.  Additional idea: involve Troop #3 as Eagle Scout projects (contact Harry Heckler). Our long-term plan will include classroom instruction, hands-on installation, and support with maintenance.
  1. 5.          EAC Vacancy – Both Ken Trautwein and Sue McDowell desire to serve on the Ambler EAC.  They will submit their cover letters and resumes to Mary Aversa and Tony Isabella. David Morgan will submit a resignation letter stating his desire to become an Associate member.
  1. 6.          Actions from prior meetings
  1. No progress:  Trash can next to the Recycling container at Rita’s; application of final 15 street sewer labels “No Dumping…”; Downtown Tree Management tree pit widening, mulching above Lindenwold, and CVS replacement of dead trees.
  2. Progress:  Terracycling.net supplies funds to organizations that collect a wide variety of items that curbside recycling cannot – David Morgan and Mattison School are still collecting; Deer fence removal from Boro Park – part of the fence piles have been picked up by WVWA, rest will be collected soon.
  3. Report not available:  Ambler Food Coop; Home grown Institute
  1. 7.          Miscellaneous:  Skip noted that there are two homes in Ambler with solar panels on their roofs: Matt Cooley and a home on Reiffs Mill.


1)     Susan C will speak with Borough Manager Mary Aversa about moving a trash can near the recycling container at Rita’s, about the two applications for the one EAC seat, and about tree pit widening and mulching; she will get an invoice from Ron Ayres for the 4 trees planted along Butler and talk to him about weeding the Ricciardi rain garden; she will visit the rain garden website and consider location and size of a rain garden at her home; she will also speak to David Morgan about his resignation letter

2)     Susan McD will send in her resume, consult on Ken Trautwein’s yard for a rain garden, and let Susan C know what Friday she can meet with Code Enforcement Officer Ron Myers and Mayor Bud Wahl to promote pervious pavement and other green concepts for inclusion in Bottom Dollar plans.

3)     Ken Trautwein will submit his resume, and meet SusanC at Boro Park to help with weed trimming in the next week, and also visit the rain garden website and consider location and size of a rain garden at his home

4)     Susan J will continue to observe, liaison with and report on Council meetings; she will visit the rain garden website and consider location and size of a rain garden at her home

5)     Skip and Scotti will visit the rain garden website and consider location and size of a rain garden at their home.

Hold over ideas:  demonstration Tree Trenches for storm water management; Artman needs a rain garden; ClearStream Recycling stands for Ambler events

Meeting was adjourned at 8:15 PM.