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Bamboo Decision Befuddles Town Hall

Town Board votes to extend decision time on proposed bamboo regulations.

Seemingly as tough to vote on as it is to eradicate, the bamboo issue has stymied Town Hall.

The Huntington Town Council on Tuesday voted to extend by 90 days the final vote on a proposed local law to regulate bamboo usage — after pulling the item last month from the agenda.

By a 4-1 decision, the board extended the deadline to Sept. 9.

Town Councilman Mark Cuthbertson, who has opposed the bamboo regulation resolution  in February, again voted against.

With the resolution heading for probable defeat in April, the item was pulled from the agenda by Councilwoman Susan Berland, the sponsor of the legislation.

"I will give my colleagues the opportunity to talk with me as they said they would," Berland said at the April meeting.

Apparently, even more time is needed on the bamboo issue which has attracted passionate arguments from both sides since early in the year.

If approved, the local law could make it illegal for Huntington property owners and tenants to allow bamboo to migrate onto adjourning properties. Fines have been proposed from $300 to $5,000 for second and third offenses, according to the original resolution.

One resident in favor of the regulation  chamber in tears in April in frustration. "You don't know what I've been through," said a distraught female. "My town has let me down tremendously."

 it could be difficult for the town to determine the origin of bamboo that was planted many years ago. Some say if passed, the resolution could lead to further regulation of other plants.

"Today it's going to be bamboo, tomorrow it's going to be something else," said Robert Lifson of Huntington at a public hearing in March.

DPP May 25, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Bamboo is a pain to eradicate but so are dandelions and politicians who can't find something more important to spend time on! Doug Perry Northport
E. Throop May 25, 2012 at 11:36 PM
Bamboo isn't even an invaisive species as defined by the DEC. Therefore, this law won't stand up in the courts. It is arbitrary at best, and to hold people responsible for this is an over-reach of government.
Goin' Commando May 26, 2012 at 03:23 AM
Whether or not some invasive plant has been pre-defined by DEC as "an invasive species" really isn't the issue. Although I am not affected by some neighbor's bamboo, and although none of my neighbors have been affected, there are people in Huntington who have been very negatively affected by an inconsiderate neighbor's planting of bamboo. It does spread relatively rapidly, and very, very, resistantly. For those who are older, or for those who don't have piles of discretionary income to pay some landscaping company to remove the neighbor's invading bamboo from their own properties, it is unfair to leave no remedy for them but to hire an attorney and sue. And, as to dandelions, making the comparison of dandelions to bamboo is like making a comparison of illegal parking to reckless and hazardous driving in a school parking lot. Sometimes people do need an assist from local government, when "neighbors" won't be responsible for their invasive plants that cause harm.
Karen May 26, 2012 at 11:45 AM
I cannot believe the Board is wasting time on whether or not to ban Bamboo. Why aren't they concerned about the lack of weed control and high grasses that litter Huntington public areas. All along our roadways and medians, including the Northern State Pky...the grass is so high and not only looks awful but can be a driving hazard, as well. And, if the grass is mowed in some places...the highway crew only cuts inward of a few feet, leaving the remaining growth to form into a wasteland. Long Island is considered a "resort" community around this Country and is rapidly becoming a slum. When I visit other states, where taxes are 1/4 of what we pay, the roads are much better maintained and cleaner. How much can it cost to cut the grass on a regular basis? Where is all the money going? Stop the meetings on Bamboo and get to work!
Goin' Commando May 26, 2012 at 03:31 PM
Karen, are you aware which governmental entity is responsible for maintenance along each particular road? The Town of Huntington is not responsible for NSP, or the Jersey Turnpike for that matter. There are State roads, and County roads, as well as Town roads. Besides, any town board should be able to metaphorically walk and chew gum at the same time. Now, aside from my corrective note on relative responsibilities and a reasonable expectation for multi-tasking, you are absolutely correct to focus upon the very poor way that all governmental entities in NY State take care of basic maintenance, including roadways (sides and surface). Every time I drive to JFK I wonder how visitors to the US will imagine us as a society when they spot the garbage along the roadways leading to and from the airport.
tony May 28, 2012 at 01:17 PM
I would suggest then you not drive to JFK or simply learn stop worrying about what foreign visitors to the US will imagine. One only needs to visit other countries to learn they have the same problems and don't wonder about what we imagine.
Goin' Commando May 28, 2012 at 03:46 PM
For tony, I traveled on business to four continents, and have visited over twenty-five countries, most of them multiple times over a course of decades. Boy, you are so incredibly wrong about your generalized contention! You need to learn that we live in an increasingly global marketplace, and that we are not some isolated walled-off city state from the Middle Ages. The world simply isn't flat, tony.
Steve Lau May 28, 2012 at 06:11 PM
There is nothing wrong with growing bamboo if it is completely contained by the owner so that it cannot go into the neighbors yard, container grown or if is a slow spreading or clumping species. People who grow their plants responsibly shouldn't be blamed, but the people who have no respect for their neighbors property should be held accountable. The problem is when owners plant bamboo in order to screen out their neighbors in their urban neighborhood, and the rhizomes spread right across the property line making it impossible to grow anything else for their neighbor who only has lets say only 1000 square feet of space or less. If the neighbor refuses to contain their bamboo, it is reasonable to have legislation to make them pay for the containment or removal of their bamboo if that is desired, but that money should go towards resolving the problem, and not as a form of profit for the government, and to punish a homeowner. This should apply towards all plants, even trees with over-hanging limbs as it can pose as a safety hazard or simply be a nuisance to a neighbor.
tony May 29, 2012 at 04:16 PM
For Going Commando: Your response is a condescending, pseudo-intellectual rant. Please get over your "Euro envy" problem or maybe just move there so you can school and correct those ciitizens.
Dad of Three May 29, 2012 at 04:29 PM
I am surprised that tony overreacted to the comments of Goin' Commando, who just seems to be pointing out to tony why his narrowly-focused (and perhaps xenophobic?) comments, about what he witnessed on the way to JFK, and its possible implications (which was really Going Commando's response to Karen) were so far off the mark. Frankly, I'd prefer to have more precise and personal witness-based comments such as Going Commando provided in that response. The world would be a better place if people opened up to the objective experiences of others. Also tony, Going Commando never even mentioned Europe, so your " 'Euro envy' problem" remark seems to reflect your own psychological hang-up. Why?
Christine May 29, 2012 at 05:27 PM
I have to agree with you regarding "Every time I drive to JFK I wonder how visitors to the US will imagine us as a society when they spot the garbage along the roadways leading to and from the airport." If you only get one chance to make a first impression, NYC airports and their surrounds, including JFK, LAG, and EWR, are an embarrasment. Though what this has to do with bamboo is beyond me.
Michael O'sullivan May 30, 2012 at 01:19 AM
People need to stop being so scared of bamboo. It's been here since the start of life. To rid yourself of bamboo or even knotweed, it is as simple as cutting the plant to ground level then keep it mowed with even grass seed if you want. They need photosynthesis to live (rhyzomes). The best way is to prune the rhyzomes (roots) which are not far in the ground. Bamboo will become a great resource in the future and anyone who wants to grow it should take responsibility on its containment.
Goin' Commando May 30, 2012 at 03:07 AM
Mr. O'sullivan, your final words are almost prophetic on this issue: "...and anyone who wants to grow it should take responsibility on its containment." That seems to be the critical issue, for situations when people who wanted to grow bamboo are NOT responsible, and their invading shoots/rhyzomes negatively affects others who are either too old, or infirm, to remove it themselves, or not wealthy enough to pay others to do it. In a perfect world, where all are responsible and do not cause damage to their neighbors, this would not be an issue. But......
Baerbalang May 30, 2012 at 07:23 PM
Goin' Commando, there is another issue here which hasn't been talked about. The person behind the bamboo ban is pushing it as part of a vendetta aginst her neighbors. If she can get bamboo outlawed then it would be a blow against them. In order to do so she has embarked on a disinformation champaign to make bamboo more of a problem than it actually is. Instead of striking at the weak points in the growth cycle she has people letting it spread and video taping it while cussing it for growing. It is not the work of a well mind.
Goin' Commando May 30, 2012 at 10:25 PM
For Baerbalang, while I can appreciate your citation of something you either personally know or have heard repeated by others, that is not by itself a reason for the Town Board to avoid protecting other citizens from the irresponsible acts, and damaging results, of others. I have no doubt that good attorneys can craft regulations which would protect innocent citizens harmed by irresponsible planters of bamboo, while preventing vendettas from causing unwarranted harm to innocent planters of bamboo who take all necessary actions to prevent the spread of their plants.
Rich May 31, 2012 at 04:37 AM
It is a failing of mankind that we have needed to create so many laws that are essentially specific situations in which a very basic principle is reinforced: Don't be a jerk or an idiot. If only everyone could abide by that principle, than a great deal of our laws would be irrelevant and no longer needed. Unfortunately, that is a dream that will never occur.
Baerbalang May 31, 2012 at 01:11 PM
For Goin' Commando, the problem is that the Town Board and good attorneys need good information in order to pass reasonable laws. This person has spread so many falsehoods to so many different sources that good information has been getting drowned out. She has also adopted a campaign of censorship of anyone who doesn't agree with her. So far the person has not shown up here.
Goin' Commando May 31, 2012 at 03:33 PM
For Baerbalang, please read the post by Rich, shortly after midnight. It pretty well says what needs to be said, your understandable concerns notwithstanding. Besides, are you suggesting that one lonely individual can totally bamboozle the Town Board, and any staff member investigating this issue? If so, the woman you cite must be awfully clever and able to use a metaphorical cloak of invisibility. However, this ain't Hogwarts, so I somehow doubt her powers.
sue howe June 03, 2012 at 10:35 AM
well my neighbors dandelions are not pushing up through my pool liner.

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