An ordinance that adds running bamboo to the city of Bexley's list of noxious vegetation and weeds is scheduled to go into effect at the end of September.

But city officials still are discussing a related measure that updates the list of plants that can be regulated under the city code.

Bexley City Council unanimously approved Ordinance 17-18 Aug. 28, which requires property owners, at their own expense, to install a barrier system and remove bamboo that is encroaching onto any other private property or public right of way. The ordinance will become effective at the end of September, Mayor Ben Kessler said.

Bamboo is divided into two main types: running and clumping, according to the American Bamboo Society's website, Bamboo.org. Clumping bamboo has a short root structure that extends a maximum of a few inches each year. Running bamboo can reach up to 100 feet above ground, with an underground root system known as runners, or rhizomes, that can extend far from the parent plant.

The ordinance doesn't list any fines or spell out the exact amount of time property owners have to remove the bamboo and install a barrier system. Instead, Kessler said, the city's code enforcement officer will work with residents who are cited for violating the ordinance to ensure compliance.

Kessler said the ordinance resulted from at least four residents' complaints about running bamboo encroaching on their properties.

He said Bexley's ordinance is modeled on similar regulation in Worthington.

In 2015, Worthington's city council passed an ordinance that requires bamboo owners to make sure the plant stays on their property or they face a $100-a-day fine.

In conjunction with adopting this latest ordinance, Bexley is also updating its list of plants that are listed as "noxious vegetation/weeds," Kessler said.

Members of the city's Tree and Public Gardens Commission discussed the issue at their Sept. 19 meeting.

Susan Quintenz, commission chairwoman, said commission members and City Councilman Troy Markham, chairman of council's service and environment committee, are working on how to classify plants as "noxious," "invasive" and/or "rank."

For example, running bamboo can be considered invasive but not noxious since it's not poisonous.

"It's subjective," Quintenz said.

In addition to running bamboo that is not contained, the city's current list of noxious vegetation and weeds includes thistle, burdock, jimson weed, ragweed, mullein, poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac. The city currently defines rank vegetation as grass that exceeds 8 inches in height and bushes, shrubs, flowers, trees, branches and limbs that extend into or overhang the public right of way and create a public nuisance or pose a danger to public health and safety.

The Tree and Public Gardens Commission tabled the discussion about updating the list until its next monthly meeting to gather more research. Its next meeting is scheduled for 4 p.m. Oct. 17 at Bexley City Hall, 2242 E. Main St.

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