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Friday May 3, 2013 3:28 PM By Carl Corry
Bamboo, a fast-growing plant which originated in China,
Bamboo, a fast-growing plant which originated in China, is favored by some homeowners as a privacy screen.
Bans on bamboo across Long Island, like the one passed by the village of Malverne on Wednesday, have gained momentum in the past few years.
Advocates for banning the plant say it is invasive and encroaches on properties, causing damage.
How far back do bamboo bans go?
The Fire Island village of Ocean Beach banned the plant in 1981, according to its village code. It took 27 years for the next area to take up the cause. The village of Saltaire, also on Fire Island, passed a ban in 2008, followed by the villages of Woodsburgh and Babylon and the Town of Smithtown in 2011. The towns of Brookhaven and Hempstead and the city of Long Beach approved bans in 2012.
This year, the Town of Huntington and the village of Lindenhurst joined the act, with Malverne the latest.
Penalties for growing or maintaining bamboo vary among Long Island municipalities; Malverne might be the only place that offers the potential for jail time -- up to 15 days -- for violating the law.

Municipalities on LI that have passed bamboo bans:
Babylon Village -- September 2011
Brookhaven -- July 2012
Hempstead -- July 2012
Huntington -- April 2013
Lindenhurst -- March 2013
Long Beach -- August 2012
Malverne -- May 2013
Smithtown -- August 2011
Woodsburgh -- April 2011
Saltaire -- 2008
Ocean Beach -- 1981

(see full law lower left side)

BROOKHAVEN (see law left side)
Brookhaven Councilwoman Kathleen Walsh, who proposed the town's law, said residents have been asking for a similar statute in Brookhaven since Smithtown passed its rule.
"Our intent is not to regulate people's backyards, but hopefully to provide some relief for residents who have been affected," Walsh said. Brookhaven's bamboo law would carry a fine of $500 to $2,000 for a first offense and $1,000 to $3,000 for any subsequent violation.The proposed law could face opposition from businesses that grow or sell bamboo, such as nurseries including Peconic River Herb Farm in Calverton.

HEMPSTEAD (see law left side)
Supervisor Kate Murray and the Hempstead Town Board unanimously adopted legislation at the July 10 Town Board meeting that will stem the planting, growing or maintaining of bamboo plants on local properties in the township. Town officials are responding to the complaints of residents who have had to deal with invasive bamboo encroaching on their properties from adjoining parcels.“While it is a beautiful plant, bamboo’s growth is often difficult to control and has caused significant damage to residential properties in Hempstead Town,” stated Murray. “We are now making it unlawful to grow, plant or maintain this often-invasive plant.”In recent months, many residents have displayed evidence of damaged tree roots, pipes, sidewalks and even foundations as a result of out-of-control bamboo growth. The root structure found in many types of bamboo tends to expand horizontally, making the plant difficult to maintain and more likely to cause damage to its surrounding area than other types of plants.Residents have documented bamboo roots migrating from neighboring properties and literally sprouting through and cracking garage floors, sidewalks and driveways. For some homeowners, the damage has cost them thousands of dollars to remediate.
This law will be enforced by the Town of Hempstead Department of Sanitation. If residents have a complaint about bamboo plants encroaching on their properties, they are urged to call Code Enforcement at (516) 378-2200.
“This ban on bamboo plants is another example of how the Town of Hempstead is preserving the high quality of life in our community,” concluded Murray. 

“We encourage town residents to contact our Department of Sanitation with issues stemming from bamboo.”
It shall be unlawful for any owner, agent of such owner, and/or any person, firm or corporation in possession of any vacant unimproved real property within the Town to permit:
(1) Lawns, weeds, grass or brush of any kind to obtain a height in excess of eight inches.
(2) Garbage, litter, refuse, rubbish or rubble to accumulate thereon.
(3) Planting, growing and/or maintaining of bamboo in or upon the ground, whether originating on said property or encroaching thereon from any neighboring property. The term "bamboo" shall be defined as any tropical or semi-tropical grass of the genera Bambusa, Dendrocalamus or of any other related genera.[Added 7-10-2012 by L.L. No. 55-2012, effective 7-25-2012] Any person committing an offense against any of the provisions of this article shall be guilty of a violation punishable by a fine of not more than $500 or by imprisonment for not more than 15 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment.[Amended 5-10-2005 by L.L. No. 45-2005, effective 5-31-2005]
B. Each day's continued offense against this article shall constitute a separate additional offense.

 Huntington has passed a law to regulate invasive bamboo after more than a year of debate, revisions and tension among town board members, joining a growing list of Long Island municipalities with similar restrictions. While the new law approved this week doesn't ban bamboo altogether, it prohibits residents from planting new running bamboo and requires them to contain existing plants if they have it and want to keep it. The penalties are $250 to $500 for maintaining, growing or failing to remove running bamboo, and $1,000 for planting or replanting bamboo."The misery inflicted on residents with bamboo has done nothing but increase since I started on this last year," board member Susan Berland, sponsor of the resolution, said Wednesday. "So I am happy for the residents who now feel they have a government behind them."The law says residents are responsible for either removing the bamboo or taking reasonable measures to confine it to their property and to prevent its spread. There will be a six-month moratorium to clear or contain bamboo before penalties are imposed. Public safety officers will be enforcing the law.

Long Beach has become the latest Long Island municipality to pass a law restricting use of bamboo plants on private property.The legislation makes Long Beach at least the ninth city, town or village on Long Island to restrict the use of bamboo. Homeowners sometimes plant bamboo for aesthetic purposes or as a property barrier, but the often-invasive plant can spread into adjacent areas and damage foundations, roots and sidewalks.The city's law states that invasive or "running bamboo" cannot be planted anywhere in the city. Residents who already have bamboo on their properties can maintain it as long as "it does not encroach or grow onto any adjoining or neighboring property," the law states.The law will allow the city to bring scofflaw bamboo growers into court, said Scott Kemins, the city's building commissioner."It's a win for homeowners who are being invaded by this bamboo. It's just another tool to help them," Kemins said.The law allows the city to give violators 10 days to remove bamboo and fine them $250 per day after that.

Several years earlier, the Fire Island Villages of Saltaire and Ocean Beach adopted local laws regulating the planting and growing of bamboo. Saltaire’s law prohibits the planting or growing of bamboo anywhere within the Village. The local law, however, contains an exception for bamboo that was planted or otherwise permitted to grow prior to the effective date of the local law, provided that the property owner takes measures to prevent the bamboo from invading or spreading onto adjoining or neighboring properties. According to the Village Code, violations of the local law are subject to a fine of up to $250 per day, in addition to civil and criminal penalties. Last year, the Village of Babylon adopted a local law that was very similar to the one adopted by Saltaire.

Smithtown has become the first Long Island town to pass sweeping restrictions on bamboo plants.The ordinance, which was approved unanimously by the town board Tuesday night and will take effect Jan. 1, bans bamboo within 10 feet of a grower's property line. Bamboo growers have until January to remove any of the vegetation that is too close to neighboring properties. Violators could face fines and will be ordered to remove the plants. Town public safety officers will enforce the new law. In recent years, some town residents have complained that bamboo has spread to their properties from neighboring parcels. Opponents of the law have said it is unreasonable.

The Village of Malverne board of trustees unanimously approved a law that would ban "destructive" bamboo on any property in the village.The board approved the law, referred to as the "bamboo amendment," after a public hearing Wednesday night. The ban on the invasive plant follows in the footsteps of a similar Hempstead Town law approved last year, village officials said.Under the new village law, residents are prohibited from planting, growing or maintaining bamboo on outdoor property; indoor plantings are allowed. The building department has the authority to issue summonses once a week if the owner fails to get rid of the bamboo after the initial citation. Violators would face a $350 fine or up to 15 days in jail.

Woodsburgh Village officials passed laws Wednesday night restricting household flora and fauna -- plants and pets.Property owners who already have bamboo, like Newman Daphna, would be responsible for confining the plant to their property. They would have to take any "reasonable action" to prevent bamboo from invading other properties and would be liable for expenses incurred by the owner of the invaded property.

Any tropical or semitropical grass of the genera Bambusa, Dendrocalamus or of any other related genera.
A property owner in the Village who has planted or grown or caused the planting or growing of bamboo on his property and/or permitted or permits the 

growing of bamboo of his property that had initially encroached onto his property from an adjoining or neighboring property.
B. Applicability. For purposes of this section, if bamboo is found growing upon a property that shall constitute presumptive evidence that the growing of bamboo on the property shall have occurred with the consent of the owner of such property, except that such property owner shall not be presumed to be a bamboo property owner if the property owner did not plant or grow or cause said bamboo to be planted or grown in his property and he shall provide the Building Inspector with proof, satisfactory to the Building Inspector, that within a reasonable period of time after he first learned of the encroachment of bamboo onto his property from an adjoining or neighboring property he advised the owner of such adjoining or neighboring property of his objection to the encroachment of bamboo onto his property and/or initiated steps for the removal of the bamboo from his property. C. Prohibition. Effective upon the date this provision shall become law, the planting or growing of bamboo shall be prohibited within the Village of Babylon. Any person who thereafter plants or grows, or causes to be planted to grow, bamboo within the Village shall be deemed to be in violation of this section, and shall be subject to such penalties as are set forth hereunder.
D. Regulation. Any bamboo which has been planted or otherwise permitted to grow in any property within the Village of Babylon prior to the effective date of this chapter may remain on such property subject to compliance with this § 270-2. Each bamboo property owner shall be responsible to ensure that the bamboo planted or growing on his property prior to the effective date of this chapter does not encroach or grow upon any adjoining or neighboring property or properties, including all public property and rights-of-way held by the Village, and shall be required to take such measures as are reasonably expected to prevent such bamboo from invading or growing onto adjoining or neighboring properties. Such measures shall include installation of sheathing comprised of 
metal metal metal or other material impenetrable by bamboo at a sufficient depth within the property line or lines where the bamboo is planted or is grow or other material impenetrable by bamboo at a sufficient depth within the property line or lines where the bamboo is planted or is growing to prevent the growth or encroachment upon adjoining or neighboring property by said bamboo. The Board of Trustees may from time to time prescribe such rules and regulations as may be necessary to give effect to this.E. Removal. (1) In the event that bamboo growing on a bamboo property owner's property invades or grows on an adjoining or neighboring property that is owned or 
held on behalf of the Village of Babylon, the Village shall notify the bamboo property owner that the bamboo said owner had planted or caused to plant or had permitted to grow on his property has invaded Village property, and that the bamboo property owner is responsible for the removal of such bamboo 
from the Village property. This notice shall be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, and by regular mail to the latest address of the bamboo property owner on file with the Village Clerk and a copy of the notice shall also be left in a conspicuous location on the bamboo property owner's property in the Village of Babylon.(2) In the event that the bamboo property owner does not remove or contract for the removal of said bamboo from the Village property, or does not make 
an arrangement with the Village for removal of such bamboo within 30 days from the date the Village first deposited the notice as provided in Subsection E (1) above with the United States Postal Service, then the Village, at its discretion, may remove or arrange for the removal of such bamboo from the Village property. The bamboo property owner shall be liable and responsible to the Village for the Village's costs in removing the bamboo from the Village property. Such costs may be assessed against the property of the bamboo property owner as a tax payable by such bamboo property owner in the event that the costs remain unpaid more than 30 days after demand for payment has been made by the Village on the bamboo property owner. (3) In the event that the Village is compelled to undertake the removal or to contract for the undertaking of removal of bamboo, as provided for in 
Subsection E(2) above, neither the Village nor its employees shall have any liability for damages or other claims to the bamboo property owner by reason of the removal of such bamboo. In the event such removal entails or causes damages to the flora or other property of a person other than the property of the bamboo property owner, the bamboo property owner in violation of this section shall be responsible for such damages.
F. Replanting prohibited. Any bamboo either planted or caused to be planted or existing on a property prior to the effective date of this section may not be replanted or replaced in kind once such bamboo is or has become, for any reason, dead, destroyed, uprooted or otherwise removed.G. Notification. Within 30 days after the effective date of this chapter the Village shall give notice by reasonable means to all property owners in the Village advising them of the enactment of this section and requesting that each property owner who would be deemed a bamboo property owner hereunder as of the effective date of this section notify the Village in writing no later than 60 days after the date of the aforementioned notice from the Village that bamboo is present on the property of such property owner and such other information as may be requested in the notice from the Village.§ 270-3 Violations and penalties.A. Violations. Any property owner who violates any of the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a violation thereof. Each and every day that a violation of this section shall exist shall constitute a separate violation of this section.
B. Penalties.(1) A violation of any provision of this section shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed $250 for each violation.
(2) The Village may also pursue civil or injunctive relief, or pursue criminal penalties, irrespective of any determination to prosecute for a violation of this 
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