Malverne bans 'destructive' bamboo

Bamboo grows in the Town of Huntington on Bamboo grows in the Town of Huntington on June 20, 2012. Photo Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin

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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.

"We're looking for compliance," village attorney Joseph Gentile said. "We're looking for people to get rid of it."

Village officials said they were responding to complaints from residents who have had to deal with invasive bamboo encroaching on their properties from adjoining parcels and causing damage.

"I have lived with this problem for some time," said village resident Peter Zullo, a former village attorney and one of the residents who spoke in favor of law. "The bamboo grows so tall . . . when it snows it snaps and damages fences."

The bamboo ban will go into effect as soon as it is filed with the New York secretary of state, but village officials said they would give residents a 30-day grace period to comply.

Huntington, Brookhaven and Smithtown towns, Long Beach and some Long Island villages have passed similar laws that penalize homeowners who plant bamboo or fail to control it from migrating onto other properties.

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