Village Considers Ban on Bamboo


Sag Harbor resident Pat Field has tried everything to destroy bamboo that spread from her neighbor’s Madison Street property across her driveway and 15-feet into her property.

“It’s impossible to kill,” she said at a Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday night. “I’ve tried.”

Field has proposed that the village consider adopting a law similar to one proposed in Smithtown banning invasive species of bamboo that, when planted and not properly controlled, can spread quickly and destroy neighboring properties. Under Field’s proposal, homeowners who plant bamboo must keep it from spreading within 20-feet of neighboring properties, noting the plants can “destroy brick patios” and even grow through air conditioning units. She proposes that violators would be charged with having to remove the plants from neighbors’ properties if it spreads and should be fined $500 a month if they don’t comply with the law.

“If someone wants it so badly, they must put a steel barrier at least three-feet down to contain the plantings on their property,” states Field in her proposal to the board.

Both Mayor Brian Gilbride and Trustee Robby Stein appeared supportive of the village at least exploring legislation.

“Nothing will happen overnight, but you have brought us something we will look at and send to the other boards,” said Gilbride.

Village Needs County Okay For Binocular Viewer on Wharf

The Long Island Chapter of the United States Lighthouse Society has petitioned the Village of Sag Harbor to allow a binocular viewer on Long Wharf for residents to view the historic Cedar Island Lighthouse.

The society is working towards the lighthouse’s restoration and is hoping the viewer will bring attention, and support to their cause.

On Tuesday night, Gilbride told Michael Leahy, the Chairman of the Cedar Island Restoration Committee, that he supported the idea, but due to ongoing debates between the county and the village over the ownership of Long Wharf, he was hesitant to allow the viewer to be installed.

However, Gilbride agreed to allow the viewer to be placed on the wharf as long as Leahy could secure a letter from the county supporting the concept.

Resident Wants Trees Removed

A Hempstead Street resident approached both the village Harbor Committee and Trustees this week asking that trees she says were planted on village property over 30 years ago, blocking her water view, be removed.

Rebecca Curtis contends that former village mayor Bill Young had trees planted in the portion of village land next to the Havens Beach drainage ditch that took away a water view from the rear of her house. Curtis said she was promised they would be removed, but 32 years later they remain.

She added that she would like the village to explore restoring the wetlands around the drainage ditch instead of its current plan. The village trustees have proposed to address bacteria in the ditch through a combination of bio-filtration in the creation of a restored wetland in the ditch itself, as well as the use of mechanical filtration units at the beginning of the ditch at Hempstead Street and at its end where it discharges into Sag Harbor Bay.

“I moved here just to have a view of that water and I no longer have that due to the village’s actions,” said Curtis on Tuesday night.

Gilbride said he was reluctant to “chop down” trees on village property. Trustee Tim Culver added that the village’s plans for Havens Beach were developed out of years of study by village environmental planning consultant Rich Warren, as well as the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Riverhead.

After the meeting, Superintendent of Public Works Dee Yardley questioned whether or not the trees Young had planted on village property were the trees now blocking Curtis’ view. He furnished two maps, one from 1997 that showed two perfect lines of trees planted next to the ditch at Havens Beach. Yardley said it is those trees, which were cut down two years ago, that he believes were planted by the village. A cluster of trees blocking Curtis’ view, visible on a 2009 map of the area, Yardley said he believes grew naturally.

In other village news, the board formally adopted a new law regulating restaurants as accessory businesses to motels in the resort-motel district of the village.

Under the law, the restaurants cannot occupy more than 20-percent of the gross floor area of an entire restaurant, can only be open when the motel is open, cannot offer take-out to non-motel guests and cannot contain a separate bar or nightclub.

Lastly, the board approved the Sag Harbor American Music Festival’s request to have outdoor musicians perform on two spots on Main Street and have an outdoor performance at Marine Park to kick off their inaugural festival on Friday, September 30 and Saturday, October 1.

In addition to a Friday night performance at Bay Street theatre, 11 local businesses will host musical events featuring American music styles like blues and jazz, over the course of the weekend.



  1. Gentlemen:

    I live at 281 Madison Street and have suffered with my neighbor’s bamboo since the day I closed on this house. The bamboo droppings are all over my patio all day, every day. The only way tokeep the patio clean is to VACCUM every day as the particles get in betwee the brick. The bamboo particles are in my food as I cook on the grill; on our clothes and recently, a gentleman stopped me to tell me I had bamboo particles in my hair. We cannot eat outside because any SLIGHT breeze covers the food with particles of bamboo. In the winter, the bamboo bends with the weight of the snow and I cannot get out the side door to take my two little rescue dogs out until someone helps me shake the branches. The bamboo is breaKING DOWN THE FENCE BETGWEEN THE HOUSES AN IS 20 to 25 FEET HIGH at LEAST. HELP!! My neighbor of course says it does nto bother her. There is no redeeming factor for bamboo unless you have a panda. It should ONLY be in a container.

  2. I’ve got a neighbor who has done everything to push the limits of zoning, building codes and has a heap of junk in his yard facing my home and an attitude to match.

    I have been considering planting bamboo on my lot line adjacent to his back yard to hide all his junk. It’s a fast easy way to solve one of the problems and it grows like a weed on steroids.Maybe,Pat, the previous owner of the home you own was one of these types of neighbor from hell and your neighbor planted the bamboo to hide the trash in the yard you now own.You might want to ask your neighbor about the history.And although I feel your pain I must remind you that you were aware of that bamboo when you bought the house.It’s too late to unring the bell on that one.