Local pandas won't be happy to hear it, but some Westporters want to root out the local "invasion" of bamboo.
The Representative Town Meeting on Tuesday, in a proposal petitioned onto its agenda by at least 20 citizens, will consider the suggestion that an ordinance be adopted declaring bamboo a "nuisance" and regulating its growth.
"I personally am totally invaded by bamboo," said Gabriele Kellenborn, who said that about 5,000 square feet of the fast-growing plant has overgrown onto her Edgewater Common Lane property.
"I've been cutting bamboo," she said. "That's all I do anymore."
In the petiton to the RTM, Kellenborn proposes stricter local regulations be adopted under a new state law that takes effect Oct. 1, which makes homeowners responsible for keeping sections of "running bamboo" within boundaries on their own properties. The law also states homeowners must have a 100-foot buffer from adjacent properties when planting new bamboo.
Kellenborn's proposal also calls for removal of pre-existing bamboo that has grown within 40 feet of adjacent property lines, roads and rights-of-way. Her petition was filed July 15 with Town Clerk Patricia Strauss, and signed by the 20 voters needed for it to be added to the RTM agenda.
"None of it is contained," she said of bamboo's growth. "It can just grow anywhere it wants."
"It's a real estate problem," she said. "Who sell their land if the realtor knows there is an invasion? ... This plant has no regard for septic sewer, asphalt, public roads. It just keeps growing."
"I guess it can do damage," said Alicia Mozian, the town's conservation director, who said she was still investigating the matter.
"In the past few years bamboo has been planted in Connecticut with increasing frequency by homeowners on their property," she said. "The problem that has arisen with the bamboo's popularity is that it can very easily grow beyond property lines and be a burden to the neighbors."
According to the American Bamboo Society, based in Encinitas, Calif., "Bamboo is a group of perennial evergreens in the true grass family," and is among the fastest-growing plants in the world, growing up to 60 centimeters in a day, depending on soil and climate conditions.
"This is nature," Kellenborn said. "It will keep on going, and we can't escape. We can't look the other way, and that's why I brought the ordinance forth."
The RTM session where the bamboo ordinance will be considered starts at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Town Hall auditorium.