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South Brunswick Nixes Bamboo Ban

Township decides against a ban on running bamboo over concerns for property damage.

Following several complaints from concerned residents, the South Brunswick Township Council discussed, but ultimately decided against, a ban on running bamboo.  

Township officials said bamboo is one of the most difficult plants to control – and remove – and it grows and spreads across large areas in a short amount of time. It has been known to damage pools, patios and anything else in its path if it is not controlled and segregated by a steel base around a planting area.

"There is a lot of running bamboo being planted around town and that's not a good thing," said Mayor Frank Gambatese at last week's council meeting. "We're getting a lot of complaints."

In recent years, running bamboo has been banned in other parts of New Jersey, such as Brick Township, which passed an ordinance targeting invasive species such as bamboo, ragweed, multi flora rose, kudzu-vine and poison ivy.

With running bamboo, underground rhizomes allow the wood to spread quickly, which can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage, according to a report in the Connecticut Post.

While bamboo does create a nuisance, in the case of a resident being affected by a neighbor's bamboo impeding on their property, council members said it would fall to township zoning officials to respond to those complaints.

The council ultimately decided passing a ban on bamboo would be overregulation and overly cumbersome to monitor. 

"Where are we going with this? Are we going to have people running around other people's backyards?" said Councilman Charles Carley during the meeting. "There is a state agency that trapes around looking to control what they believe is an invasive species. Essentially what we have are neighbor complaints and I think a zoning officer can handle that."
Paul Saltin July 25, 2013 at 09:27 AM
The Council's decision to transfer responsibility to the zoning board or zoning officer for decision making in regard to the problems of invasive bamboo is improper from my point of view. If there is no existing law or regulation on the books then the question must be asked what "law" will the zoning department be enforcing? If, as Councilman Carley

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