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NORTHPORT Village Bans Invasive Bamboo 

Donna Freith, a Northport resident told Northport Village Trustees at a Dec. 3 village hall hearing that her house as been “devalued” because of her neighbor’s reckless maintenance and growth of running bamboo.

Following the Town of Huntington’s footsteps, the Northport Village Board will no longer allow bamboo plants to stalk the backyards of residents or village property.

The four village trustees and Mayor George Doll approved a bill after a Dec. 3 hearing that will prohibit the invasive running species of bamboo from encroaching on village property. The law also calls for stricter enforcement measures; after a complaint is filed with the board, the owner has 30 days to remove the bamboo from village property.

The planting of new bamboo is prohibited, and new control measures require that any bamboo owner whose property has bamboo remove and abate the growth of the plant within 20 feet of an adjoining property, the edge of the pavement, or traveled portion of a public or private road.

The law does not require residents who already have bamboo on their property to remove it, but they must comply with regulations resulting from the local law, requiring current bamboo owners to ensure the invasive plant does not encroach or grow within 20 feet from an adjoining public or private property or village right-of-way.

Initially, the law looked to put a 10-foot limit on how far away stalks of the plant could be from a paved sidewalk or village road. However, a handful of residents argued that bamboo, like broken tree limbs, can stand as tall as 30-50 feet, break off and hang over onto the property of a neighbor who does not have bamboo.

Donna Freith said that since Superstorm Sandy hit, her neighbor’s bamboo has repeatedly hit the roof of her Park Street property, “smacking against the house” and prohibiting the use of her own front deck.

Frieth’s pleas, coupled with testimony from Steve Greenspan, a Greenlawn resident and bamboo removal expert who argued bamboo can break through asphalt, concrete, brick and homes, prompted the board to change the setback to 20 feet.

Any person or corporation violating the law is subject to a fine of $1,000 no more than once per calendar month. The penalty provision, however, will not go into effect until three months after the local law is filed with the New York Secretary of State, likely by the end of the year.

Not one among an audience of 20 spoke out against the law. Trustee Tom Kehoe said the meeting yielded “healthy discussion,” but he would have preferred to hold over the adoption until the next village board meeting. Mayor Doll however, was adamant to vote on Tuesday night.

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