July 2017 Meeting Minutes

July 19, 2017 6:45 – 9:15pm | Borough Hall Mtg Room | Recorded by: Lindsey Daku
*****Next Meeting Wednesday August 16, 2017*****

Members in Attendance:
Mary-Margaret Monser, Chair EAC
Jill Sanchez
Lindsey Daku

Absent Members:
Mitchell Cashatt
(Three Vacancies)

Associates and Visitors in Attendance:
Susan Curry, former EAC chair
Susan Johnsson, EAC acting treasurer
Nellie DiPietro, Ambler resident
Chris Raines, Ambler resident
Andrew Chiang, Local resident visitor
Stephen Mellet, Local resident visitor
Judy Baigis, Ambler resident
Scott Berman, WVWA Open Space researcher, Lower Gwynedd Greens

Action Items by Person:

Mary-Margaret: Check back with DCNR to request the reviewers’ comment sheets on the Growing Greener proposal. Consider timing and guest speaker for 2018 EAC Summits. Participate in STAR webinar Thur. July 20; explore Sweet Briar lot as another pocket park or at least shrubs. Work with Mitch on Rain Garden presentation. Follow up on Stewardship Saturday. Prep for August Stewardship Saturday. Prep for August 12 at Farmers’ Market with GS. Create signs, media, and letter for Beautiful program. Create media for Total Recycle Tour Sept 13th at 10am.

Lindsey: Draft meeting minutes & distribute; add next meeting to Facebook; newsletter; make sure the disclaimer statement appears on Facebook and website

Jill: Provide list of PHS street trees to Mary Aversa — see if can get the list earlier from Barley Van Clief before the official application is ready. Set-up date for Ambler walk to identify street trees. Raija’s map of 12 potential street/public shade trees.

Mitch: Work with MM to prepare presentation for Rain Gardens.

Susan C: Get familiar with the STAR community sustainability program; watch for the public comment period on Ambler’s 2018 MS4/NOI permit Application due September 16th 2017 (Current MS4, TMDL Strategy).

Nellie: Spearhead efforts regarding solar panel arrays on big roofs in Ambler.

Susan J: Begin to prepare a draft for the 2018 EAC budget request – include item for background checks ($33 per person) for EAC members leading kids at Farmers Market (only needs up-dating every 5 years,) and sponsoring an EAC Summit,
PA State Police Criminal Record Clearance $8
PA Child Abuse History Clearance: $8
FBI Clearance*: $27

Chris: Confer with Mary Aversa on battery recycling program.

Stephen: Walk with David Morgan to identify areas that would benefit from street trees. 30 foot trees under wires.

Agenda Topics:
6:45 – 6:55 Meet and Greet
6:55 – 8:30 EAC General Updates
Meeting Minutes June – approved.

  1. EAC Updates: A review of action items from last meeting raised the following:
    • SEPTA wants to review PHS tree list (available mid-August) and will coordinate with Mary Aversa to choose trees – MMM exploring possible partnership for “Island swales” to mitigate stormwater runoff in the lot, – highlighting SEPTA Sustainability Goal #4 reduce stormwater runoff — SEPTA lot is the largest impervious surface in the Borough, becoming more barren as trees die, and they are not replaced. People want to walk and park in the shade.
      Seeking grant for the 100 Rain Garden Campaign to install five rain gardens in Ambler for 2017. Currently updating agreements and website.
    • Consider installing a native plantings mini-garden at the Edgewood cul-de-sac entrance to Borough Park. Possibly the Boy Scout planting event. Will need maintenance. Montco Greens funded an $80 tree for Knight park to replace a removed Ash tree.
    • Explore having the bush in front of KC’s Alley replaced with a shade tree
    • Explore planting shrubs or installing next “pocket park” in the lot beside Sweet Briar
    • Request bigger table for meeting space.
  2. Council/ Planning Commission Updates (Susan and Judy):
    1. Open Space Ambler Open Space Plan 2006 – being amended for next PC meeting; additional undeveloped properties information will be provided by Scott from WVWA who is working with Planning Commission. Encouraging Easements, Donations.
    2. Bamboo Ordinance – 10 ft buffer ordinance being proposed; includes existing patches (not “grandfathered”)
    3. Parks and Rec committee released their 5-year plan for parks: mostly equipment requests from residents; EAC seeks to encourage more focus on making the parks models of “green infrastructure”. Are we seeing plans with deadlines/budgets? Edgewood Preserve Conservation Management Plan?
    4. Work with Council candidates and members on developing a “Unified Downtown” — green trees on the streets, (for example) one in front of Gypsy Blue
    5. Stephen Mellet will accompany David Morgan on a downtown inventory of vacant sites for new trees
  3. Announcements and Opportunities:
    • July 25 Planning Commission Meeting 7pm
    • July 29 FEMA at the Farmers Market with Chris Raines 9am
    • August 1 Borough Council Committee Meeting 7pm
    • August 9th Gwynedd Green Committee Meeting 7pm
    • August 12 Girl Scouts at the Farmers market with MMM (pollinator gardens) 9am
    • August 15 Borough Council Meeting 7pm
    • August 19th Stewardship Saturday at Ambler Borough Park 8:30am – we now have a section map of invasives in the park – yay!
    • September 13th at 10am Total Recycling Tour in Birdsboro PA an hour away
  4. Borough Council Guidelines – Mr. Pasceri’s letter reread, MMM reiterated we must always start all calls and emails with outside agencies with a disclaimer, will make sure the disclaimer is on the Facebook and websites
  5. Pennsylvania EAC Handbook — link shared to help orient newest EAC members
    • Report from BuxMont EAC Summit – MMM and Erin Loch attended — very energized and helpful PFC lecture
    • Possible liaison with other EACs (e.g. Abington, Lower Gwynedd, Doylestown) — need an EAC member to champion this
    • Possibly sponsor an EAC Summit for our area EACs with guest speaker – plan to include in the 2018 budget request
  6. Sustainable Tools for Assessing and Rating Communities STAR
    1. Getting Started – Thursday July 20th 2pm webinar – climate change guide -MMM will participate
    2. Lindsey very supportive of the assessments and surveys to find out resident priorities
  7. Update status of Act 162 Stormwater Ordinance – Borough engineer and lawyer are drafting an “alternative” for the riparian buffer section…? – Confusion with Act 167 – Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association Stormwater Management Plan
    • MS4 Permitting — Borough’s notice of intent due to DEP in September – there will be public notice/comment period in August and it’s important we voice EAC/resident views.
  8. Asking Borough for grant for $2,000 for 4 active rain garden installations; $500 each for September installations.
    • Mennonite Church – brewery offering partial funds and labor help.
    • 316 Mt Pleasant
    • 130 Hendricks
    • 317 Lindenwold
  9. Recycling battery project: Requires investment in collecting stands and mailing containers. EAC would design education and outreach. Chris R. will email Mary Aversa to initiate having a collecting stand in the Borough lobby, with Borough staff taking on-going management. Could also have additional collecting towers at CVS, Weaver’s Way, Library
  10. Electronics Recycling – Possibly have a quarterly collection arranged– the Borough evidently partners financially with Upper Dublin for electronics collection (Always’ Be Recycling)
  11. Dual recycling/trash containers — For the time being, the Borough plans to repair and paint existing trash containers. Getting dual containers is on hold for future budgets
  12. Solar roofs: consider a tour of existing solar roofs. Explore opportunities for solar arrays atop: Weavers way? Boro Hall? Ambler Savings? Nellie taking the lead.
    1. Link to site 1  — solar states: tax breaks for residential and commercial sites
    2. Link to site 2 — solar cities -strictly residential
  13. Awards: Official, citizen, community effort — for further discussion next meeting
    • Acknowledging beautiful yards: – MMM sending to Minutemen for signs quote: Caught you looking beautiful!
  14. SEEKING Volunteer coordinator: VolunteerMatch, sign-in sheets, tracking service hours, follow-up thanks and invite to EAC meetings
  15. 2017 Growing Greener grants announced– Ambler’s was not chosen. MMM to request copy of the reviewers’ comments sheets.
    1. Abington Township, Sandy Run TMDL Projects: $186,000
    2. Lower Gwynedd Township, Lower Gwynedd Basins and Dam Naturalization: $60,850
    3. Upper Gwynedd Township, Wissahickon Headwaters Green Stormwater Infrastructure: $305,000
    4. Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association, Wissahickon Headwaters Stream and Riparian Restoration Project: $369,600
  16. EAC budget – Including our absorbing the expense of PALTA for Parks and Rec members – ~$783 left for 2017

Left for future agendas

  • Ambler Crossings, BoRit, 5-year inspection of Ambler Piles and other asbestos
  • Advocate for trails and/or educational signage on BoRit Hill
  • Pocket park update

8:30 – 8:40 PM Next Steps/ Action Items/ Next Meeting: Wednesday August 16, 2017