Ordinance 2549: Restrictions On Bamboo

A proposed addition to Roselle Park’s borough code book that will limit and place restrictions on bamboo growth anywhere in the borough is on the agenda for the October 4th municipal meeting.

The issue was brought up as a workshop discussion by Second Ward Councilman Joseph Petrosky. Property owners had complained to members of the governing body that bamboo from neighboring properties was encroaching and invading their property.

 The vote to introduce this ordinance was not unanimous. Third Ward Councilman William Fahoury voted against introducing it at all.

The ordinance provides definitions for terms such as “Bamboo”, “Rhizome”, “Rhizome Barriers”, and “Invading Plants”.

The regulation portion of the ordinance prohibits the planting or growing of bamboo except under three (3) circumstances:

  1. Where the root system of such Bamboo is entirely contained within an above ground level planter, barrel or other vessel of such design, material, and location as to entirely prevent the spread of growth of the Bamboo’s root system beyond the container in which it is planted, and located, trimmed and maintained such that no part of the plant shall cross any property line, structure, utility line, or swimming pool at any time.
  2. Where planted in the ground within a Rhizome Barrier and located, trimmed, and maintained such that no part of the Bamboo shall cross any property line, structure, utility line, or swimming pool at any time.
  3. Where Bamboo has been planted prior to the Effective Date of this Ordinance, and the person or entity complies with section 19:7-5(1) below, and trims and maintains such that no part of the Bamboo shall cross any property line, structure, utility line, or swimming pool at any time.

For those residents who already have bamboo on their property will have 90 days to comply with the ordinance. Within that time, the bamboo must either be removed or placed in a root barrier detailed under the “Rhizome Barriers” definition.

An owner of bamboo that has become an invading plant will be liable for any damages caused to any property including the cost of removal of any bamboo that grows on any affected property.

The Code Enforcement Department will have the authority to place violators on notice and – if necessary – after 60 days, file a complaint with the municipal court. If found guilty, a fine from $100 to $2,000 and/or community service could be imposed for each separate offense.

In explaining the ordinance, Richard Huxford – the borough attorney – stated, “It’s to limit the bamboo and if you are going to have bamboo, what restrictions you need to put in place so that the bamboo won’t become a nuisance to neighbors or other property owners.” 

In explaining his reasoning, Councilman Fahoury said that he did not feel the ordinance was researched properly.

“We don’t know how many residents this will affect; maybe the Borough,” he remarked, “Who knows if we have it on Boro property? How will Code Enforcement enforce it? Is Code Enforcement even qualified? Did we request assistance from a bamboo specialist. I feel the ordinance is incomplete.”

The public hearing and vote by the governing body is on for Thursday night during the October 4th municipal meeting which starts at 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