Another Long Island town has taken aim at bamboo, proposing a ban on new plantings and fines of up to $500 a day for property owners who don't stop existing bamboo plants from spreading onto a neighbor's property.
Babylon's town board could vote on the proposal as early as next month. The proposal was prompted by complaints from at least 15 property owners.
"These people didn't plant it and don't want it and we have to do something about it," said Babylon Supervisor Rich Schaffer.
Karen Elefterion of West Babylon has seen bamboo trying to spread across her property from a neighbor's yard.
Each day, Elefterion said, she and her husband do battle with the bamboo, digging up sprouts growing in their lawn. Letting it spread unchecked, she lamented, could result in major problems.
"It can damage pipes and if you have a crack in your foundation, it can get into the foundation of your home," said Elefterion.
According to Elefterion, her neighbor has done little to halt the bamboo invasion. That unidentified neighbor wasn't home to respond to the claims.
Babylon's proposed law won't result in "bamboo patrols" tracking violators, supervisor Schaffer said, but property owner complaints could lead to summonses and eventually those hefty fines if bamboo growers don't deal with the problem..
About a dozen Long Island municipalities have already passed bamboo bans, Babylon officials said. According to experts, bamboo grows and spreads rapidly and is difficult to eradicate.
"You can try to dig it up," said Lisa Judge of the Stables Garden Center in Babylon. "But once you have it, it's very hard."
With that in mind, Babylon's proposed law calls on property owner's with bamboo to erect a special above ground barrier to halt its spread.
"It's a quality of life issue," said Schaffer.
"We hope they help us soon," said Elefterion.