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Hempstead Village delays bamboo ban vote amid opposition

Bamboo grows in the Town of Huntington. Huntington

Bamboo grows in the Town of Huntington. Huntington passed an invasive bamboo ban, and the Village of Hempstead is considering a similar proposal. (June 20, 2012) Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin

The Hempstead Village board delayed voting last week on a proposed law that would ban bamboo, the fast-growing tropical grass.

The proposed law, the subject of a public hearing on Aug. 6, would make it “unlawful to permit or engage in the planting, growing and/or maintaining of bamboo, whether originating on said property or encroaching thereon from any neighboring property.”

Mayor Wayne J. Hall Sr. said he plans to bring the resolution back for a vote despite reservations expressed publicly by trustee Luis Figueroa. Hall said the village has received bamboo-related complaints.

“We’re just going to present it back,” Hall said in an interview. “If they want to say yes or no, they will. It is an invasive plant and they want to get rid of it.”

Figueroa questioned whether bamboo planting was an issue in the village, adding he felt out-of-control weeds growing in yards seemed more of a problem. He said he thought it was unjust to have responsible owners pull out their bamboo.

“I really think it is unfair,” said village resident Maryann Rose, who said she has had bamboo on her property for 10 years, adding it would be too costly to pull out the exotic plant. “I agree it should be unlawful to plant it and grow it, but not if you already have it.”

But village attorney Debra Urbano-DiSalvo disputed Rose’s argument. “How do we know the old bamboo from the new bamboo? We can’t,” Urbano-DiSalvo said.

More than a dozen towns and villages on Long Island have passed laws since 2011 restricting the cultivation of bamboo, whose roots spread horizontally underground.

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