Ocean City Shoots for Bamboo Ban

Ocean City Shoots for Bamboo Ban

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The City of Ocean City’s historic U.S. Life Saving Station property at Fourth Street and Atlantic Avenue would be one of the first tests for a potential new bamboo ban on the island.

Ocean City is taking aim at an unwelcome guest.

City Council on Aug. 14 will consider an ordinance prohibiting the planting of bamboo on the island.

The invasive species spreads easily from one property to the next and is extremely difficult to remove. At the same time, its strong underground runners can damage structures and landscapes.

The Ocean City Shade Tree Committee met this week to make final revisions to a proposed ordinance for City Council to consider.

The draft ordinance is detailed but includes the following basic provisions:

  • Prohibits owners and tenants from planting any variety of bamboo
  • Requires owners and/or tenants to contain existing bamboo with an approved barrier system (the city would draft guidelines)
  • Requires owners and/or tenants to pay to remove bamboo from neighboring properties within 90 days or face penalties up to $100 a day until they do.

Council would have to approve two readings of the ordinance (tentatively scheduled for Aug. 14 and 28) before it could be enacted (20 days after approval).

The ordinance is sponsored by Councilman Michael Allegretto in response to a Crescent Road resident, Phebe Dickson, who had complained that bamboo rhizomes from a neighboring property continue to advance toward her foundation.

Dickson went to Thursday’s City Council meeting to thank her representatives for taking action.

“One citizen’s voice can be heard and ultimately make a difference,” Dickson said.

One of the first property owners to be tested by a new ordinance would be the city itself. The city-owned historic U.S. Life Saving Station 30 at Fourth Street and Atlantic Avenue is bordered by a wall of bamboo.

The city would have 90 days to remove and remediate the bamboo there.