Category Archives: MS4

October 21, 2015 Meeting Minutes

October 21, 2015

AMBLER BOROUGH ENVIRONMENTAL ADVISORY COUNCIL

7:00PM to 9:45PM

Members in Attendance:  
Stephen Maakestad, Chair of EAC
Susan Johnsson,
Mary-Margaret Monser
(Quorum)

Absent Members:
Matt Cooley
Charles Charlesworth
(One Vacancy)

Associates and Visitors in Attendance:
Susan Curry
Chris Raines
Raija Suomela
Rachel Rosenfeld
Jill and Christian Sanchez

Action Items by Person:

· Steve Maakestad – .Meet with Mary Aversa. Give presentation to Borough Council. Contact prospective EAC members. Check with Gail about carryover process for unused budget funds.

  • Susan Johnsson – Send application to the Fort Washington Business Alliance. Contact Raija about invoices.
  • Susan Curry – Work on Edgewood Forest Preserve Project.
  • Mary-Margaret Monser – Create Powerpoint and give presentation at Library on November 5th. Contact Linda Hode. Send Chris Raines specs for image needed for emblem.
  • Charles Charlesworth – Coordinate TerraCycle Program to collect specific recyclables at Borough Hall with Sue Garrity of Shady Grove (cereal bags, tape dispensers, pens/markers/mechanical pencils, glue bottles, plastic bottle spray  triggers, cheese wrappers, juice pouches).
  • Chris Raines – Add photos from EAC events and monthly minutes to EAC web site
    Post updates to Facebook page. Send photos to Mary Margaret for November 5th Presentation.
  • Rachel Rosenfeld – Attend November 5th presentation and help to answer audience questions.
  • Raija Suomela – Communicate with park maintenance contractors to begin work in Borough Park.

Agenda Topics:

  1. Council/Committee Updates:

The planning commission gave a presentation describing their role in the county, explaining how they have worked with Ambler borough for 42 years and outlining two proposed conservation ordinances (Riparian Buffer and Steep Slope). Dulcy Flaherty, Eric Jarrell and Lauren VanDyk each presented information Ms. VanDyk has been working on the ordinances with the Ambler Planning Commission for the past several months.

Residents in the vicinity of Rose Valley Creek expressed dissatisfaction with the ordinances. Much of the concern was about the distance of setback from the water’s edge for Zone 1 and Zone 2. In rural areas, the setback is 100 feet for each zone and for urban areas, it is usually 25 feet. The planning commission has agreed to make the setback distance 15 feet for Ambler. There are specific guidelines for Zone 1 and Zone 2. Glenn Kucher is planning to meet individually with residents who are affected by these ordinances.

Joe Bresnan mentioned that the flood ordinance is currently being rewritten.

The TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) for phosphorus was discussed in relation to the water quality of the creek and the ordinances. Mary Aversa stated that the ordinances were only part of the necessary actions that the borough needed to take. Capturing and filtering all of the water runoff before it reaches the creek will be a large and costly project. She also alluded to the improvements that may be needed in the waste water treatment plant.

  1. Health of the Creeks: Some borough residents are blowing their fallen leaves into the creeks. There is a need for education about how to improve the health of the creeks. Stephen will talk to Mary Aversa and Glenn Kucher to learn whether the borough has a brochure about keeping creeks healthy.

A resident on Edgewood cut down several large healthy trees last weekend. Many neighbors are quite upset and someone spray painted swear words on one of the stumps. This tree stump has since been removed.

  1. Edgewood Forest Preserve: Susan Curry made a proposal that a 501c3 organization purchase the woodlands steep slope property on Edgewood Drive and suggested that the EAC and whole community participate in raising the tax-deductible funds to do so. She suggested that the property be transferred with a permanent Conservation Easement to the Borough for on-going maintenance.  Susan has spoken to the Wissahickon Watershed, but the size and current condition of the property does not meet the WVWA’s criterion. Susan plans to speak to the Heritage Conservancy about partnering with the property purchase.
  2. Removal of Invasive Plants in Borough Park: Raija stated that Red Tail would begin removing invasive plants later in the week. She will follow up with them to clarify which plants will be removed and report discussion to the EAC following the meeting. Rachel was concerned that the Knotweed has dried up already and suggested that Red Tail remove other invasive plants.
  3. Mesothelioma Lecture: The lecture was held on September 19th, 2015. The meeting was a success. Diane Blackburn-Zambetti was thorough and clear in presenting many aspects of the disease, prevention and risks as well as types of asbestos and where it can be found. The audience was engaged and interested in the subject. Nineteen people attended. To publicize this event, 1000 flyers were distributed to neighborhoods in Ambler, 12 local churches and many Butler Avenue businesses.
  4. Healthy Wissahickon Film: Chris Raines will work with Lindsay to schedule an EAC showing of the Healthy Wissahickon Film in early winter 2016. Possible locations/events are a church coffeehouse, a senior center, or a Fort Washington Business Alliance luncheon.
  5. Fort Washington Business Alliance: The EAC decided to join the FWBA for 2016. Susan Johnsson will send the application and fee. Our goal is for one EAC member to attend the luncheon each month to discuss ongoing initiatives and enlist support for projects from the group.
  6. Protecting Green Spaces in Ambler: Presentation is scheduled for November 5th at the Wissahickon Library (Ambler Branch). The event begins at 6:30pm with tea and scones. The presentation is scheduled for 7pm. Chris Raines will purchase the refreshments, set up and clean up. Mary-Margaret will speak about the current condition of the creek, the need for environmental ordinances, the Temple Study, and the EAC’s role.
  1. The BoRit Cag Meeting was held on October 7th. Gordon Chase was appointed chair.
  1. EAC Budget was briefly discussed. Approximately $800 is still available.
  2. Rain Gardens: A Rain Garden on the Ambler Borough Property was suggested to be placed in the area near the building’s entrance was discussed. Stephen will discuss this project with the borough manager.Mary Margaret is considering a rain garden on her property.
  3. Hometown News was mentioned briefly. Several EAC articles and photos appeared in the newsletter.
  4. Membership: There are two openings on the EAC. Matt Cooley will change his status from Member to Associate Member. He will send a letter to borough council announcing is change.

 

  1. Meeting with Borough Manager: The need for a meeting with Mary Aversa was discussed. Stephen Maakestad will meet with Mary Aversa to discuss EAC agenda. He will learn what types of projects she would like the EAC to focus on.
  2. December Committee or Council Meeting: Each year the EAC gives a short presentation to borough council. Stephen Maakestad will give this presentation outlining EAC accomplishments for 2015 and goals for 2016.
  3. December Meeting: The Lucky Well is being considered for a dinner meeting in December.

Items Postponed Until The Next Meeting:

  • Plant swap project
  • TMDL Phosphorous Update

The meeting was adjourned around 9:45pm.

Next Meeting Date: November 28, 2015 at 7:00PM – 131 Rosemary Avenue, Auditorium

June 6, 2015-Meeting Minutes

June 17th, 2015 7:00PM to 8:30PM

EAC Meeting Minutes June 2015 in PDF Format

Members in Attendance:

Peter Amento
Dottie Beachum
Charles Charlesworth
Susan Curry
Stephanie Figary
Susan Johnsson
Mary-Margaret Monser
David Morgan
Chris Raines
Raija Suomela

Next Meeting Date: Wednesday, July 15th, 2015 at 7:00PM – Borough Hall Conference Room

Action Items by Person:

  • David Morgan – Place Clear Stream recycling containers at public events.
  • Mary-Margaret –
    • Place Clear Stream recycling containers at events when David is out of town.
    • Discuss Clear Stream Container’s with Mary Aversa.
  • Charles Charlesworth – Coordinate TeraCycle Program
  • Chris Raines – Print flyers, post on social media, update web site
  • Rachel Rosenfeld –
    • Use Volunteer Match to obtain volunteers for Park Clean-up.
    • Create the Park Clean-up handout.
    • Shop for work gloves, food and beverages
  • Lindsay Blanton – Give talk to volunteers at Park Clean-up on July 11th.
  • Stephanie Figary –
    • Give talk at Park Clean-up on July 18th.
    • Get donations for Park Clean-up Day.
  • Susan Curry –
    • Ask Frank DeRousi for a copy of the park maintenance contract.
    • Contact Sharon McCormick about Park Service Day.
    • Give River Keepers Brochures to Dottie Beachum for GA camp
    • Send comments to the EPA about proposed TMDL
  • Susan Johnsson – Clean out the EAC supply closet in the borough building

Agenda Topics:

  1. Recycling Collection Proposal: Shady Grove Elementary School has a TeraCycle Program. Tape dispensers, pens, markers, glue bottles, squeeze bottle triggers, juice pouches are collected. Only items outside the scope of single stream are collected. The Church of the Brethren has a container located in the church lobby. Sue Garrity will coordinate a drop-off at Ambler Borough Hall with the help of Charles Charlesworth. This project will not begin until the borough offices have completed the move to the old Mattison Avenue School. A flyer announcing the collection program will be designed and delivered with the new trash containers.
  2. Five Clear Stream Recycling Containers will be placed at Ambler public events and festivals, and possibly First Fridays. The Clear Stream Containers will be stored in Susan Johnsson’s garage. Mary Margaret will contact Mary Aversa to ask if borough crew will pick up the recycling containers at the end of events.
  3. Council/Committee Updates:
    1. The borough will be moving to Mattison Avenue School in mid-July
    2. Ambler Borough will apply for a 2015 Growing Greener Watershed Protection Grant that is offered through the DEP.
    3. Paving will occur on several streets in Ambler during the late summer.
    4. Borough Hall will be auctioned
    5. The Parking Ordinance is being reviewed
    6. The wetlands ordinance will be reviewed at the next planning commission meeting on June 23rd at 7PM.
    7. A special meeting was held Tuesday, June 23rd, to choose a council person to fill the vacancy. The Vacancy Board Chairman broke the tie and Karen Polesir was appointed.
  4. Borough Park Survey: 300 surveys were completed. The majority of respondents prefer the park to remain natural.
  5. Ambler Borough Park Clean-up Days – July 11th and 18th. Susan Curry will ask Frank DeRousi for a copy of the park maintenance contract to learn specific responsibilities of the maintenance crew. Hiring Bob Adams as a consultant may be considered for seasonal cleanup of invasive plants. Raija stated that maintenance contracts are typically limited to mowing of grass and removal of downed trees. She said that higher level tasks are not included. She stated that it would take less than 40 hours to remove invasive plants from the park.

A targeted application of a herbicide called Rodeo in the fall is needed to adequately remove Japanese Knotweed. Contacting neighborhood residents to let them know about the application in advance was suggested.
Greg Gagliono of Red Tail Restoration Management was suggested as a source for invasive cleanup.
Susan Curry mentioned that the website weeds.inc provided in depth information about removal of invasives.

Park Clean-up flyers have been completed and were distributed. More flyers will be printed.

Rachel Rosenfeld is using Volunteer Match to find volunteers for the Park Clean-up.

The Park Clean-up was posted on Ambler 19002, the Ambler EAC Facebook Page, the EAC website, other Ambler Facebook groups and the Wissahickon Watershed Facebook Page.

Plan for the Clean-up Day: Volunteers will be provided with a handout describing the purpose of a riparian buffer and why invasive plants need to be removed. A short talk will be given to volunteers at the beginning of each workday (July 11th – Lindsay Blanton, July 18th – Stephanie Figary). Wetland ordinances and (Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) will be included in the talk. After the talk, volunteers will get a quick tour of the park, before beginning their work.

Rachel mentioned that she would like all volunteers to arrive at 9am, so that they are present for the talk.

Specific plants that should be removed by volunteers was discussed. Japanese Knotweed, honeysuckle vines and garlic mustard will be considered. Plants to be removed will be tagged or painted prior to July 11th. Rachel and Raija will meet a Ambler borough park to decide which plants will be included in the clean-up.

Rachel will email volunteers with information about the workday. They will be asked to wear long pants. Work gloves, tools and bags will be provided by the EAC.

Stephanie will look into getting donations. Rachel will purchase contractor grade trash bags and work gloves will be purchased from Decks Hardware and pick up food and beverages. Seeking donations from Whole Foods was suggested.

Susan Curry will call Sharon McCormick to ask if volunteers could use their bathroom during Park Clean-up.

  1. Science Camp Supplies: Dottie Beachum will be teaching a unit on ecology during science camp at Germantown Academy. She would like some brochures to distribute to campers. Susan Curry will check her supply brochures to determine if there are enough for the camp program.
  2. A Healthy Wissahickon Movie: The EAC will coordinate a showing of the movie with Lindsay Blanton.
  3. EAC Supply Closet: Susan Johnsson will clean out the EAC supply closet in the borough building.
  4. Public Hearing: EPA Proposes Total Phosphorus (TMDL) for the Wissahickon Creek Watershed The June 10th public meeting was summarized. The public comment period is open until July 4th. A request for extension of the comment period deadline was made by several people who attended the meeting. The EPA has not responded to this request. The comment period may be extended. Susan Curry will send comments.
  5. Items Postponed Until The Next Meeting: Plant Swap, Downtown Tree Advocacy, Fall Mini-Campaign.
  6. The meeting was adjourned at 9:15pm.

Next Meeting Date: Wednesday, July 15h, 2015 at 7:00PM – Borough Hall Conference Room

April 15, 2015 Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, April 15, 2015     7:00 to 8:55 PM  at Calvary United Methodist Church

Member Attendance (quorum): Charlie Charlesworth, Matt Cooley, Steve Maakestad, Mary-Margaret Monser, Alex Pratt

Member Absence: Steph Figary, Susan Johnsson

Associates: Susan Curry, Chris Raines

Also in attendance: members of Earth Fest Planning Committee: Chris Mrozinski, Eileen and Mark Wenckus, Julia and Gary LeFevre, Peter (Democratic Committee), Louise Eltrick (Calvary), Mike Koslowski (Stantec)

Next Meeting Date: May 20, 2015 To Be Determined (Outdoor Location)

Action Items by person:

Maakestad:

  1. Assist in organizing music, PA system, children’s activities and compost bins for Earth Fest.
  2. Identify landscapers that could offer services to support the rain garden program.
  3. Transport compost bins –run raffle, coordinate water conservation display (laptop)
  4. Contact Frank DeRuosi to offer EAC support in processing park surveys and deciding what actions/ policies the surveys point to
  5. Meet Susan April 24 8:00 AM to scout Tannery Run access and debris.

Johnsson:

  1. Confirm all previous rain gardens are registered and have signs.
  2. Process checks for Earth Fest

Figary:

  1. Support Rachel Rosenfeld as requested.

Monser:

  1. Participate on Rain Gardens Tour planning committee

Pratt:

  1. Send photo and short bio to Raines for website.

Charlesworth:

  1. Send photo and short bio to Chris Raines for website.
  2. Send contact info for persons to complete infiltration testing for rain garden program.

Raines:

  1. Continue superb coordination of Earth Fest event. Post at Facebook.com/Ambler19002
  2. Daniel Brouse will submit the costs of EAC domain registration for reimbursement.

Curry:

  1. Connect with rain garden homeowners to confirm commitment and dates
  2. Prepare EAC sign-up sheet for booth at Earth Fest
  3. Get flyer to Chris about Park clean-up for Earth Fest
  4. Support Alex with EAC panel display size
  5. Get names/contacts of rain garden installers: Mark Ryan, and from Mark Wenckus

AGENDA TOPICS

  1. Introductions
  1. All attendees gave brief introductions.
  1. Earth Fest Planning:
    1. Chris Raines noted two articles publicizing the event including The Enterprise and the Home Town News as well as slides at the Sustainability Movies and handouts of flyers there. The Zumba leader is ill. Speakers will be video-taped.
    2. A program with maps and a rain plan were printed (250 copies); yellow vests for traffic control volunteers coming from the borough. Resulting donations and vendor fees, mean that the EAC budget for event will not be fully spent.
    3. T-shirts were available for all Earth Fest planners.
    4. Daniel Brouse and Rick Denzien will contribute to outside music
  1. Council/Planning Commission items:
    1. Steep slopes ordinance is projected to affect 65 properties. County is to make recommendations after survey other Boroughs’ steep slopes ordinances (densely built out towns). EAC goal was to have consistent ordinance in all municipalities along the Wissahickon Creek. It is not clear how “proof” of slope would be an additional burden on homeowner (need a survey already).
    2. Park survey will remain open for more inputs until end of April. The EAC will offer support to compile data and consider what decisions to make that incorporate the feedback.
  1. Announcements and Opportunities
    1. EVENTS: WVWA Stream Clean-up is on April 25th. The EAC meets at the Trax Restaurant at 9am.
    2. Eagle scout tree planting at Borough Park is also on April 25th.
    3. Wissahickon Watershed Congress: “Creek in Crisis” – May 13 5:30 pm at Germantown Academy. EAC will have a booth and support with $50. Writer’s Note: WVWA later informed the EAC that they are exempt from the $50 fee.
    4. OPPORTUNITIES: The company that installed the solar panels on Matt Cooley’s home is offering to install panels for free in exchange for agreement to buy your electricity from them at a price less that PECO rate. Allows you to get solar panels at no cost and you are doing a good thing for the environment
  1. Ambler Borough Park Clean-up Day
    1. Rachel Rosenfeld will coordinate a park Clean-up two Saturdays in a row (with Sundays the rain dates: July 18 (19) and July 25 (26).
  1. Ambler EAC Budget Review

It appears two categories will be underspent. We can shift funds into rain gardens or Fall Mini-Campaign if needed.

  1. Mini-Campaign       Alex would like to develop a more professional display. The EAC authorized Alex Pratt to contact Matt Hoot (Insignia) to develop panels that could be mounted on the EAC display panels by May 13 for display at the Watershed Congress. An interactive program will be available on Steve’s tablet at the Earth Fest.
  1. Rain Gardens Update
    1. Susan Curry is still developing a resource list for the homeowners of landscapers, excavating contractors, and infiltration professionals. Please send known resources to Susan Curry. There are four interested homeowners.
    2. Susan did not gather the Rain Gardens tour committee which includes Chris Raines, Christopher Mrozinski, and Mary-Margaret.
  1. Facebook Page and Website
    1. Alex Pratt and Charlie Charlesworth to send a short bio/photo for website update.
    2. Daniel Brouse will submit the costs of EAC domain registration for reimbursement. Chris Raines will coordinate with Daniel Brouse.
  1. BoRit Community Action Group:   The presenter on Mesothelioma has asked to present to the community at large at Calvary Church on May 19 (a Council meeting date). Risks during development of the Crossings townhomes were discussed.       Matt questioned whether the EAC wanted to submit a position paper. The item was tabled with no vote.
  1. Next Meeting: May 20 , 2015 LOCATION TO BE ANNOUNCED (may be outside on Susan’s deck – weather and daylight time permitting).

The meeting was adjourned at 8:50 PM.

Future Agenda Items:

Fall Mini-Campaign

Park Survey recommendations

Downtown Tree management

Public Involvement for MS4 Permit