Ordinance 2549, which was originally scheduled to be voted on at the October 4th Mayor & Council meeting, is on the schedule for the October 18th municipal meeting.
Although, upon review, there is no change in the wording of the ordinance, the approval or defeat of the bill was made to allow council to review recommendations made by members of the public during the public hearing on the ordinance.
One point that was brought out was that one of the specific complaints of bamboo came from the Little League fields on West Webster Avenue and not really anywhere else. The owner of the property in question is Conrail, and in the past, there has been some difficulty in having Conrail maintain its property. One recommendation was to use existing municipal laws with property maintenance to have Conrail take care of bamboo overgrowth and not create a new ordinance.
Another recommendation was to have an ordinance that addresses overgrown vegetation, not just bamboo.
Councilman-At-Large Joseph DeIorio stated, “The bottom line is I’m not comfortable because I don’t know who this will affect.”
Additionally, resident Carl Pluchino, who is also the Property Maintenance Inspector for the Township of Livingston, remarked, “It’s a very invasive plant, and I’ve come across a lot of properties where it’s really been intrusive on people. I have one property in fact where it’s growing on their lawn, and it went underneath the sidewalk, and it’s growing into the public right-of-way. It travels that much.”
He stated that it was a good ordinance but that it lacked any mention of how the municipality will confirm that the conditions set in the bill. He asked, “How do you know these people did it?”
Mr. Pluchino outlined that there should be some kind of inspection process where someone would go out and make sure everything, including documentation, is in proper order before allowing someone to plant bamboo. He continued, “And then you’re talking about removing it. If [you] cut it and it’s gone, it’s removed, but it’s not taking care of the problem. Bamboo grows like crazy. In the township that I work in, I’ll be honest with you, I’m really overworked with it . . . I can understand people’s concerns because just because you like it and want it on your property doesn’t mean that I want it on my property.”
He concluded by saying, “Try to come up with an inspection process that you put in place so that it protects the town and the people.”
During the discussion among members of council, it was revealed that code enforcement reviewed the ordinance and are comfortable with it.
First Ward Councilwoman Jayme Lynn Negron added, “I don’t have anybody who’s complained to me about bamboo so I’m trying to wrap my head around it and I’m hearing from people who spoke today from the residents that this might be opening up a whole can of worms that makes things more difficult. Is there any way we can just table it and figure out if we have the means to deal with it before we approve it?”
Councilman DeIorio responded that procedurally an ordinance could be tabled if any member of the governing body feels that they need additional information.
“I like the idea,” said Fifth Ward Councilman Thomas ‘Thos’ Shipley, “I think it’s a good direction to go, but I do – from the last comment – think it is important with something like this to have something in place in terms of . . . having some type of inspection to make sure it is done right and telling them how to remove it . . . Because once it’s planted, it’s too late.”
“I just don’t want to pass another law that we can’t enforce,” concluded Councilwoman Negron.
With that, council voted to postpone the ordinance until this Thursday night.
Although there will be no additional public hearing on Ordinance 2549, residents can speak on this bill during the first public comment portion of the meeting. Tomorrow night’s municipal meeting is set to start a 7 p.m. in the Roselle Park Municipal Complex located at 110 East Westfield Avenue.
A copy of Ordinance 2549 is available below:
Download RP Ordinance 2549