Environment Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

SB-79

Title:

AN ACT CLARIFYING PROVISIONS OF THE GENERAL STATUTES REGARDING THE USE OF PROPERLY INSTALLED AND CONSTRUCTED BARRIER SYSTEMS FOR CERTAIN PLANTINGS.

Vote Date:

2/24/2016

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable

PH Date:

2/19/2016

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Environment Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

Because running bamboo often penetrates properly installed barriers and negatively impacts nearby properties, the reference to these barriers is eliminated in this technical correction. This bill clarifies language to conform the continuing violation provision of such section of the general statutes to the intent of public act 14-100 by repealing reference to the use of a properly installed and constructed barrier system.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Jeffrey S. Ward, Ph.D., Department of Forestry and Horticulture, CT Agricultural Experiment Station: With proper installation of a barrier, running bamboo can be contained. If, however, a surface lip is not included in the barrier, surface maintenance may be required to prevent rhizomes from spreading. Running bamboo can be controlled with herbicides.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Dawn Prentice, Waterford explained her quality of life on a multi-generational homestead has been compromised by invasive bamboo despite continual physical and costly work to eradicate it.

Phil Passero, Passero Real Estate explained the difficulty of selling real estate when running bamboo is present on the property or on adjoining properties.

Tom Corcoran, Stamford says that long term containment of running Bamboo is not possible.

Bamboo Bob, LLC, Norwalk is a contractor who specified the heavy equipment and expense involved in removing bamboo.

Rep.Charles Ferraro, 117th District is disappointed that the language is limited to the technical correction and does not go further. He would recommend that following additions to the bill:

1. Section 1. Subsection (c), No Person shall plant running bamboo or allow running bamboo to be planted [or to grow] on his or her property.

2. Add Subsection (g) –“A private right of action may be maintained by an adjoining property owner to enforce the provisions of [subsection (c)] of this statute. The plaintiff is entitled to attorneys' fees, and costs and disbursements if he/she is the prevailing party.” This is critical to allow private parties to be reimbursed for costs associated with any civil litigation.

Rep. Mitch Bolinsky, 106th District feels the existing law's lack of clarity is resulting in town governments avoiding appropriate action, essentially pitting neighbor against neighbor, forcing innocent land owners into an uncomfortable or unaffordable position of having to bring independent legal action to protect their property value from the invasive spread of running bamboo. These issues can be addressed by adding the language suggested above.

Rep. Mary Mushinsky 85th District and Rep. Mary Fritz 90th District sent joint testimony that it is necessary to require the bamboo's owner to monitor and keep free of bamboo the 40 foot buffer between the plant and the neighbor's property. This is best done by adding the language suggested above.

Testimony was received from the following people in strong support of the bill but requesting that the following language be added to strengthen it further:

1 - Add these three words “OR TO GROW” within the 40 foot buffer zone.

2 - Add subsection (g) to the various subsections. "A private right of action may be maintained by an adjoining property owner to enforce the provisions of [subsection (c)] of this statute." "The plaintiff is entitled to attorney's fees, and costs and disbursements if he/she is the prevailing party."

Amy Day Kahn, Lyme

Anne Debroux;

Anne Egan, Milford

Blake Audett & Trudy Meyer, Westport

Caryn Rickel, Seymour

David & Lena Long, Brookfield

Diane S. Bania, Trumbull

Dianne Saunders, Wallingford

Ed Bird, Waterford

Edward and Susan Baker, Essex

Elizabeth Zlamany, Newtown

Enilda Rosas, New Haven

Gabriele Kallenbor

Gail Kalison Reynolds, Higganum

Holly Kocet, Newtown

James & Marissa Vallillo, Stonington

Jean Walden, Waterford

Jillian B. Murphy, Old Saybrook

Joan & Joseph Marrone, Orange

John Gawlak, Wallingford Parks and Recreation

John Kowalsky, Shelton

Joseph L. Scalabrino, Branford

Kenneth Longo, Sr., Orange

Kevin and Franziska Hobbs, Bridgewater

Kimberlee Sirois Pita, Old Saybrook

Marguerite Gagnon, Ansonia

Mary Bell, Essex

Mary Gaudet-Wilson, Newtown

Mary E. Haussler, New Haven

Maureen Ayotte and Kenneth Fisher, Bristol

Nancy Mahon, Orange

Patricia and Steven Fetyko, Oxford

Priscilla S. Weadon, Westport

Robin Arcarese, Bozrah

Sandra Suffredini, Southbury

Steve Johnson, Milford Open Space

Theresa Groff, Preston

Virginia Brown, Torrington

William & Jean Killiany

Dennis P. Rogan, Excavator

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Brian Kogut, Pres. CT Nursery Association testified that his members would like to see various laws dealing with bamboo consolidated into a simple and concise bill.

Darryl Newman, CT Nursery and Landscape Assoc. Bamboo is not on the invasive species list in CT. It can be controlled with installation of a proper barrier.

Holly Johnson, John Nassif and Mike Johnson of Summer Hill Nursery testified that bamboo can be the right plant for a difficult site. It is evergreen, deer resistant, has almost no pest problems and can be contained when planted in a container or with a proper barrier system.

Reported by: Jane Dauphinais

Date: 2/25/2016