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Smithtown's bamboo law Island's strongest

Bamboo, a fast-growing invasive plant that originated in

Bamboo, a fast-growing invasive plant that originated in China, is favored by some homeowners as a privacy screen. Credit: Missouri Botanical Garden

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.

In June, more than 50 people attended a public hearing on the proposal. Comments were divided between supporters and opponents.

Bamboo is restricted in the Fire Island villages of Saltaire and Ocean Beach. Nationally, municipal bamboo ordinances are rare.

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