Northport Village will no longer feel bamboozled by potentially invasive plants
that encroach on their properties due to a new local law, prohibiting the
further growing of bamboo.
Northport Village trustees passed a bamboo control and prohibition law Tuesday night, which aims to protect private and Village property from the damaging spread of certain bamboo grasses and to protect indigenous plant materials from the spread of running bamboo.
Resident Donna Freeth said that she knows first hand about the troubles bamboo causes after seeing her neighbor’s plants grow more than 30-feet-tall.
“During Hurricane Sandy, that bamboo repeatedly came down and hit the roof of my house like a big wall. Also it leans over and acts like a sphere hanging over onto my property. We can’t sit on deck or patio because spears hang over and it’s dangerous,” she said.
She said that her neighbor's bamboo roots have destroyed a hill on her property and when she attempted to sell her house, real estate agents told her that her house had been devalued because of it. The plant has also become an attraction for unwanted guests.
“I cannot use my yard anymore because of the mosquitoes,” she said.
Steve Greenspan, a bamboo-removal expert in business for more than 20 years, said that if existing bamboo will be allowed to stay in the village, it should be set back at least 25- or 30-feet from neighboring properties.
The local law passed Tuesday bars any new planting of running bamboo in the Village. Those found in violation of the law are subject to penalties, including a $fine of up to 1,000 for each month that the law is broken.
Bamboo that is already on a person’s property does not have to be ripped out, but it must be contained to prevent the spread of it onto any other property or right of way and be set back at least 20 feet from an adjoining property or traveled portion of a road in the Village.
Of the 20 people at Tuesday’s public hearing, no one spoke in favor of allowing bamboo planting to continue in the Village. A handful of residents advocated for a stricker version of the law, suggesting that bamboo should be outlawed completely within the municipality.
The Village board members said that once the law is in place, it can be amended to expand the planting prohibitions.
“I think all of us on the board think the law could be improved and there are other issues in the law to be addressed, but we want to get started and I’m sure we’ll be considering additions and changes to the law,” Deputy Mayor Henry Tobin said.
The local law will become effective three months after filing with New York’s Secretary of State.