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Huntington residents support bamboo rule

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

More than 20 Huntington residents -- from Eaton’s Neck to Northport, and several points in between -- came to Tuesday night’s town board meeting to voice their concerns about bamboo, sharing horror stories of how it has destroyed relationships between neighbors, damaged driveways and yards, and threatened water and septic systems.

They spoke during a public hearing regarding proposed regulation of the plant.

Town officials say, if not properly restricted, bamboo can migrate to an adjacent property, potentially causing damage to landscaping, foundations and infrastructure.

Town resident Mary Jarrett said bamboo is a beautiful plant and she understands why people love it. But she said planting bamboo entails responsibility for it.

“If you have bamboo, you should be responsible for everything it does,” Jarret said. “If you want to keep it, you keep it on your property, not my property.”

Town legislation calls for establishing a 10-foot buffer between new plantings of bamboo and the property line. It also would require a property owner whose bamboo has migrated to a neighboring property to dig a 4-foot-deep trench and fill it with something such as concrete to stop its spread, town officials said.

Most speakers supported the measure, some even pushing for an outright ban of the plant. Others suggested a way to help residents dig up existing invasive bamboo plants, and a better-worded law that includes time limits on addressing issues and a fee schedule if they are not.

Dwight Andrews, a Bay Shore landscape designer, asked that the legislation cite specific bamboo because not all forms of bamboo are invasive and destructive.

The board has 90 days to vote on the measure.

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