Mamaroneck Homeowner Speaks Out Against Possible Village Bamboo Ban

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Hart's bamboo creates a green, natural barrier between him and his neighbors.
Hart's bamboo creates a green, natural barrier between him and his neighbors. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Russell Hart

MAMARONECK, N.Y. -- As the village of Mamaroneck moves toward instating a bamboo ban, resident Russell Hart keeps his fingers crossed they will reconsider. 

The 13-year village resident has tended a two-foot wide strip of bamboo along his Wagner Avenue property for several years, as a measure of added privacy between him and his close by neighbors.

After thousands of dollars invested in the lush, green barrier, he may be forced to take it down. The village Board of Trustees has been considering a ban in recent months after the tree committee reviewed a similar ban passed in Connecticut. 

The legislation banned running bamboo, which is notorious for rapidly spreading. When not properly managed, the bamboo can split driveways and invade neighboring properties. Additionally, when over-encumbered by water, the bamboo can lean into the street, causing problems for residents and motorists.

However, Hart feels all those issues can be mitigated by responsible owners. 

"Before installing the bamboo, I put a barrier up very specifically for the purpose of preventing it from spreading," he said. "It's 60-80 millimeters thick, and I put it in so its above the surface of the ground. Because of it, the bamboo has never escaped. There are no cracks in the driveways, and it's really thrived."

Hart says even when he tried to encourage the bamboo to spread, it wouldn't.

"It's certainly not as aggressive as people claim. If you use barrier it's completely containable," he said. 

As for hanging into the street, Hart feels trees cause a lot more damage and inconvenience to people than his bamboo ever could.

"Carroll Avenue, which is one street over from me, has lost a ton of trees in recent years," he said. "They pull down wires, cause power outages. Isn’t that more of a danger? Bamboo can't even reach a wire. It's much less hazardous than a tree, but you don't see anyone banning trees."

"There's so little bamboo here in the village. I don’t know why it's being singled out. The whole thing is kind of weird," he said.

Hart said he strongly advocates for bamboo, and will fight the ban in order to keep his.

"The bamboo is very pretty. We get so many beautiful birds. They love it because it's more protective and cats cant climb it. It doesn’t require fertilizers or pesticides. It's also evergreen, and produces more oxygen than trees. There are a lot of environmental benefits," he said.

What do you think about a possible bamboo ban in the village of Mamaroneck? Join the conversation below.

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How can they make you remove something that is existing it's grandfathered in and non-conforming? Legal challenge