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Bamboo Item Pulled From Town Board Agenda, Tempers Flare [VIDEO]

Town Board members spar as angry resident storms out of Town Hall.

With a resolution to regulate residential bamboo usage heading for probable defeat Tuesday by the Huntington Town Board, the item was pulled from the agenda by Councilwoman , the sponsor of the legislation.

Seemingly surprised and obviously agitated after other board members questioned her proposal —namely Eugene Cook — Berland pulled the item and accused Cook of miscommunication. 

"I will pull the resolution so that it doesn't go down on a vote," said Berland. "I will give my colleagues the opportunity to talk with me as they said they would."

Cook said he had a problem with the way the law was written up. Berland said if Cook or Councilman had a problem with her resolution they should have offered an amendment or some suggestions. 

"I find this a little interesting," said Berland. "I knew where Councilman [Mark] Cuthberston was coming from because he made it very clear, but I've had zero discussion with Councilman Cook or Councilman Mayoka and their position on this."

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

Cook said he favored bamboo regulation, but it needed to be define better in the resolution. An appointment with the councilwoman to discuss the bamboo issue was set but never met, according to Cook.

Following the verbal exchange between Berland and Cook, one resident stormed out of the chamber in tears. "You don't know what I've been through," said a distraught female. "My town has let me down tremendously."

A public hearing was held at in March where both for and against the possible bamboo regulations.

Since February, Cuthbertson has stated publicly he would not vote in favor of Berland's resolution. After voting in February on the possible bamboo regulation, the councilman acknowledged Tuesday that it's a serious issue but he still opposes restrictions.

"I still don't believe it's an area in which we as a government should go," said Cuthbertson on Tuesday.

Mayoka said he agreed with Cuthbertson and suggested a review committee be formed to help residents in the fight against bamboo.

Supervisor seconded Berland's resolution Tuesday before it was pulled.

Berland said she found the actions of the board "disappointing" for town residents who testified in recent months and cared about the bamboo issue.

Hikerr April 20, 2012 at 11:00 AM
Commando, the two obstructionists on the Town Board are not new. They're the same two you call upstanding citizens (laughable). How dare you tred on anyone's values or liberties.Although invasive bamboo affects only a tiny minority of residents and you think you know best for all? After your comments I may go out and plant some bamboo.
Harry Whittelsey April 20, 2012 at 12:20 PM
Hello town board. Invasive plants shoud be restricted from travling on to neighbors property and fines are in line.
kim April 20, 2012 at 02:24 PM
If bamboo is planted properly, with a root barrier in place, NONE of this is an issue. If you make homeowners responsible for bamboo, then homeowners of all trees should also be responsible for invasion and destruction to a neighbors property! In the past year alone 3 large neighboring oak trees have fallen on OUR property, damaging our fence, taking out power. YET WE HAVE TO PAY AND CLEAN UP.
Bamboozled April 20, 2012 at 03:48 PM
I Agree with Kim. There needs to be compromise and agree if you put regulations on Bamboo then there shall be language for neighbors that ignore issues of Ivy (whether poison or not), large trees bordering property lines that could, become a safety hazard to adjoining neighbors or just simply damages to their property's. To Kim, Did the neighbor offer to correct your fence. What if that tree or dead limb fell on someone. I have a major issue with the Town or Goverment telling me what I can or cannot plant on my property, not to mention the cost to remove or put large fines on residents that don't remove due to budget restraints. I am for Gene Cook, Mayoka and Cutherbertson's decision regarding this matter
Bamboozled April 20, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Before you go there Harry, read my comment below . . . also get all the facts about bamboo before you comment. There are ways to prevent traveling bamboo with root barriers and anyone I know that has it, spades it in May to prevent it from spreading. I have more issues with neighbors ignoring dead trees which have become safety issues.
E. Throop April 20, 2012 at 07:36 PM
Cuthbertson, Cook, and Mayoka are correct to oppose this. The DEC has not catagorized bamboo as an invaisive species. So therefore the Town Board's actions would not survive a court challenge. Government simply can't pass legislation banning some vegitation while permitting other growth without some rational basis. Sue Berland is wrong on this one.
kim April 20, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Thank You E. Throop
jpc April 20, 2012 at 09:45 PM
This resolution was ridiculous! It targets one plant that is non-invasive while there are dozens of other actually invasive plants that can migrate from one property to the next that are being ignored. Not to mention the dangers of trees as did someone above. Bamboo puts up new growth once a year. If you are too lazy to deal with that, you should probably get a nice condo where the landscaping maintenance is taken care of for you.
2 Turn Tables April 20, 2012 at 10:40 PM
Where does it end? Regulating underground roots from trees? Regulating ivy growth? The whole thing was absurd. When the Town regulates illegal apartment dwellings, they can regulate bamboo.
Dad of Three April 21, 2012 at 03:28 AM
Unless and until the Town creates, and enforces, regulations protecting residents from vegetation invasion from a neighbor's property -- really no different than protecting against invading excessive noise, which is on the books -- people should not have a right to plant bamboo, or other rapidly growing plants which are not properly controlled at the source. Nobody has a right to damage their neighbor's peaceful enjoyment of their property.
Hikerr April 21, 2012 at 10:02 AM
I want them to regulate my neighbors dandelions from coming onto my property.
Ranger Sewer April 21, 2012 at 11:54 AM
Roots do major damage to anything underground. You have to see what they do to Sewer Pipe!
Dad of Three April 21, 2012 at 04:07 PM
While you may have merely intended this as an attempt at humor, there is a world of difference -- no, make that a bloody universe of difference -- between the damage of bamboo, and the annoyance of dandelions. Aside from that, NOBODY plants dandelions deliberately, but some people do pay for and plant bamboo, Mr Hikerr, so your humorous attempt is inappropriate.
2 Turn Tables April 22, 2012 at 04:09 PM
Phil, is Mark C an abstructionist as well? The Founding Fathers design was to enable us to use our free will, without government intrusion, and have it run at the state level. What we have now is a far cry from what our F F's wanted. I do not know if there are any other states or localities in the country that limit the use of bamboo. Do limit trees as well? This should be treated the same way as any other hazard. First, have a friendly dialogue with your neighbor about controlling/removing the bamboo. Option two, send your neighbor a letter, citing the hazard, showing proof your property is in danger. The onus is now on the neighbor. If the neighbor fails to do anything, you have your day in court.
Hikerr April 22, 2012 at 05:56 PM
David,I agree with you but Susan got her idea from Smithtown where they passed regulations on bamboo in March.
Goin' Commando April 22, 2012 at 10:50 PM
Perhaps someone can research just what James Madison and Thomas Jefferson felt about bamboo. After all, they must have anticipated the internet, and left behind clues that Google could access. Or, perhaps we're just being bamboozled about the Founding Fathers doing this, or thinking that, or intending whatever for each of us for all eternity.
Laura May 05, 2012 at 03:43 PM
Think of the word freedom,now the word bamboo... Freedom give us the right to choose. However, bamboo and berland are out of control. Cook and mayoka really care about us. They stand up the us. They are town hall heroes. It ls not a rep or dem. Issue. This law take our to choose away. Wake up now. I do want to pay for your mistake.
Goin' Commando May 05, 2012 at 03:53 PM
Gee, how about the freedom to engage in human sacrifice, since that's part of the Aztec religion, or the freedom to shoot someone you're having a non-lethal fight with, as Florida's "Stand your Ground" law apparently gives one the "right" to do. Freedom is very much an over-used, and badly-misused, word. "Freedom" which harms a neighbor is not freedom, it is abuse. Prevent the harm to a neighbor, and then it is actually freedom.
R.V. May 08, 2012 at 04:18 PM
We shouldn't be so concerned about bamboo invading our backyards when we have more important issues like illegals invading our neighborhood and making it unsafe for our kids to walk into town.
Sand May 10, 2012 at 01:21 PM
I think it's very different to think about bamboo and then to have to actually deal with it. And yes, the percentage of the population that actually have to deal with it is very small. However, for those people, the cost of dealing with bamboo is very, very large. Put yourself in a neighbors' shoes (and by neighbor, I mean your American brothers and sisters): You have a neighbor that planted bamboo between your property. Very nice, choosing something different than the same ol' arborvitae or privet. Great! You get tall, evergreen spires that look tranquil and sound beautiful. Well, next year, you're mowing your lawn and WHOA! you just wrecked your mower blade on a spike of bamboo that randomly protruded out of your lawn. Okay, whatever, replace the mower blade for $20. Next year you're battling the same issue with mowing the lawn: your lawn is becoming sparse and haggard looking, you can't walk barefoot out there, that's for sure! When your kids are out there running around the in-ground pool, and they accidentally step on a bamboo cane that is coming up near the pool's edge... well, ouch... Hmmm... now you're feeling some ridges along your pool's vinyl lining? Wow... that's going to be expensive to deal with! But wait, I'm not the one that planted this stuff... why should I have to pay for it? The problem is lack of education on how destructive and aggressive and costly this plant can become. And people just don't know. So, do you penalize them for it?
Michael Bivona June 19, 2012 at 10:53 PM
My neighbor planted bamboo trees on the perimeter of his property and along side my fence. In the last ten years they have gone through my wooden fence, broken up my driveway and are growing on my property with no end in sight. It has cost us thousands of dollars in weed killers to try to stop the intrusion into my property. We are on one acre of land and trying to stop the growth is getting to be an overwhelming task. My neighbor on the other side of the inconsiderate person's property is having the same problem. When told about the problem it was causing us, he thought the whole matter was funny and said "we should learn to live with it.. . Mike Bivona--9 Broadley Ct, Dix Hills, NY
Mary Z July 16, 2012 at 10:17 PM
E. Throop, Why don't you come to my house and see the the disaster that this plant has caused and is continuing to cause! Explain to me why so many other Towns have felt it is important to regulate. I guess would call all them stupid? The Town of Smithtown has it and the Town of Hempstead just adopted. Your logic is ridiculas!
Mary Z July 16, 2012 at 10:20 PM
Sand - You sum this up very nicely - Thank You! I see Hempstead just passed it too!
Bamboozled July 17, 2012 at 01:16 PM
Everyone educate yourself on this plant. I googled images on damage from bamboo and could not find one. I hear how it collapses pools, cesspools and sewer lines, breaks up concrete, etc . . or more like blah! blah! blah!. It's all a bunch of BS. As mentioned before on my posts if you are a responsible bamboo owner there is never an issue with bamboo. We spade it, add root barriers and for any reason if it does spread we will take care of it. It is a beautiful privacy plant with a haven to birds and other wildlife. Are we now to displace them and their nature/habits? Believe me if this regulation does happen there will be a lot of disgruntled Huntington residents on town halls lawn.
Bamboozled July 17, 2012 at 01:19 PM
P.s. I am so with David Livingston . . . everyone please read his post, follow as directed and leave my property and landscaping alone. We will take care of the problem if any. For all of those who do not practice a good neighbor policy, you should be fined and banished from society. Trust me this issue is starting to make me boil!!!!!!
Bamboozled July 17, 2012 at 01:24 PM
This is based on loose rhetoric and not fact. Sand, why don't you post some pics of how the spikes have hurt anyone including pucking against the lining of your pool. the spike are generally very sofy when they first appear above grade. if stepped on they will die and not grow back. That being said, the rhizome will eventually die for if has no way to live without sun!
Bamboozled July 17, 2012 at 02:33 PM
Awesome JPC! . . . . the world is just getting too lazy and not to mention ignorant!!!!
Bamboozled July 17, 2012 at 02:40 PM
And let us not forget, all the time that the TOH puts into this, the more public monies are wasted. Gene Cook would like to do an audit of the town and its servants, this would be something I would audit to see how much time has been put into this effort, that really resolves nothing but adds anger between the public and our town. Not to mention the issue this will create between neighbors in dispute!
kim July 17, 2012 at 04:21 PM
"I still don't believe it's an area in which we as a government should go," said Cuthbertson. AGREE.
kim July 17, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Sand, what if your neighbor has a forest of trees, every year at least 2 trees fall causing damage to your property. Than that neighbor should be held liable for damage as well? What about invasive Ivy too?

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