The Village Board recently passed legislation regulating the planting and maintenance of bamboo. The new law reads " No owner, tenant or occupier of property anywhere within the Village of The Branch shall cause, suffer or allow bamboo to be planted, maintained or otherwise permitted to exist within 10 feet of any property line, street, sidewalk or public right of way.".
Why did we pass this legislation? Last year Smithtown passed legislation to address the issue of bamboo and we wanted to be consistent with their regulations as we utilize Smithtown Public Safety to help in enforcement of our village code. This language exactly mirrors what Smithtown passed and does not ban it altogether - a step other towns and villages have taken. We have had issues brought to our attention - fairly isolated thus far - but given the potential damage to neighboring properties it seemed the prudent thing to do. Smithtown has a public service video that does a great job of explaining the background and you can find it easily on YouTube. We will also be getting copies in Village Hall for village officials' use.
When will enforcement begin? We have consulted with the Town on this and following their lead there will be a period of approximately six months starting in July 2012 where we will work with residents to bring their properties into compliance without the threat of summonses. We don't want to place an undue burden on residents who may have bamboo currently and want to provide them with some time to get it taken care of. The Smithtown video and most local nurseries can help residents with the necessary guidance to control the spread of the plants.
Is the village considering banning it altogether? At this point we want to evaluate how the above restriction works before considering harsher action. While this plant is clearly not native to LI and can create enormous issues when let get out of control we would hope that neighbors want to do the right thing and will take the steps needed to eliminate encroachment on to neighboring properties. If this does not happen, we will consider the banning of it altogether - something other towns and villages have done.