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Bamboo ban plans reach Long Beach, Brookhaven

Don Seubert, Medford civic leader, stands in a

Don Seubert, Medford civic leader, stands in a field of 20-foot-high invasive bamboo in Medford. Residents have compliained that bamboo has invaded their yards, pools, fences and basements. (Mar. 28, 2012) Credit: Randee Daddona

Long Beach City became the latest Long Island municipality to jump on the bamboo-ban bandwagon Tuesday night when it scheduled a public hearing on a proposal to bar the oft-invasive species.

That same night, Brookhaven adopted a similar ban.

A draft of Long Beach's proposal, which will be the subject of an Aug. 7 public hearing, states that it would become illegal to "curb, to plant, grow and/or maintain bamboo" anywhere in the city.

The measure, if passed, would add Long Beach to a list of at least eight Long Island municipalities to ban the plant.

The proposal is a response to complaints from residents who say fast-growing bamboo has encroached on their properties, said Scott Kemins, the city's building commissioner.

"It's throughout the town. We've had issues over the years, and we have some ongoing complaints right now," Kemins said. "It definitely isn't a good, neighborly plant."

The Long Beach proposal does not yet include a proposed fine for infractions. Kemins said it would likely be similar to the penalty for other property violations, which is $250 per infraction and up to 15 days in jail.

But jail time is unlikely for such an infraction, Kemins said.

In Brookhaven, the town board at Tuesday's meeting passed a law banning new plantings of running bamboo. The new law will levy fines on residents and businesses that knowingly plant the invasive specimen after the law's passage.

The law was not unanimously supported by the board, with four members in favor and three voting against the law.

"I feel this is feel-good legislation to simply say that the town did something to satisfy frustrated residents," Councilman Dan Panico said after voting against the ban.

With Sophia Chang

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