Thiele Legislation Targets Bamboo and Holds Owner Responsible

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New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. is taking a page out of Connecticut’s book with new legislation he has introduced that would hold property owners accountable for the damage their running bamboo causes when it spreads to adjacent properties.

Any property owners who plant running bamboo—or permit it to be planted on their property—shall not allow the bamboo to grow beyond their property lines starting October 1, 2014, the legislation states. Those who violate the law will be liable for any damage caused to neighboring properties, including the cost of removing the bamboo.

“Running bamboo has become a significant problem in communities where it has become prevalent, resulting in damage and neighbor disputes,” Thiele said in a statement. “Connecticut has taken a uniform approach to addressing these issues. In New York, many local governments have attempted to regulate bamboo, resulting in a patchwork quilt of different laws that hinder proper management. Invasive species regulation is best approached from a statewide perspective.” 

The bill, modeled after a Connecticut law that took effect last year, defines “running bamboo” as any bamboo in the genus phyllostachys, which spreads via underground rhizomes. According to Thiele’s office, this type of bamboo out-competes native species and diminishes New York’s biologic diversity.

Under the legislation, bamboo may also not be planted within 100 feet of an abutting property or public right-of-way. Exceptions may only be made if the bamboo is planted in a properly maintained above-ground container. Violators could be fined under the New York State Environmental Conservation Law.

Retailers and installers of bamboo will have to provide customers with a statemeant that discloses the nature of running bamboo and includes a plain langauge summary of the law. They will face a $100 fine for each time they fail to provide customers with a statement.

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