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Brick Officials Work to Curb Invasive Plants

New rules on bamboo, other species now in place

The Brick Township Council has declared war on inavders. At least, invaders that come in plant form.

Species such as bamboo, ragweed, multi flora rose, kudzu-vine and poison ivy are identified as the worst offenders in a new ordinance recently adopted by the township council aimed at controlling the spread of such species in town. While the ordinance includes those species of plants by name, Councilman Dan Toth pointed out at a recent council meeting that the ordinance includes all plants that "grow out of place and are competitive, persistent, and pernicious."

Township officials have said that bamboo is one of the most difficult plants to control – and remove – and it grows and spreads across large areas in a short amount of time. It has been known to damage pools, patios and anything else in its path if it is not controlled and segregated by a steel base around a planting area.

"We’ve had discussions on bamboo, and you can plant it, and before you know it it’s in your neighbor’s yard," said Mayor Stephen C. Acropolis.

The new ordinance calls for the removal of all of the species of invasive plants specifically included in the ordinance as well as those other "pernicious" species around town. Code enforcement officers can now inspect properties and issue orders to residents that they must clear away plants that violate the ordinance or face the township removing it and placing a lien on the property to recover the cost of removal.

Acropolis said the issue has spread in town recently and until now, homeowners whose neighbors' plants were spreading out of control had no way of obtaining a helping hand from the township.

"The only recourse currently to someone is to pursue it in the court of law, and then we’re talking about expenses incurred by the homeowner," Acropolis said. "We wanted to give the homeowner who’s affected some further recourse."

For homeowners seeking plants native to the Shore area that won't land them in hot water with neighbors, beach plum, prickly pear cactus and bayberry fit the bill. Those species were by Save Barnegat Bay's Willie DeCamp at a recent meeting of the Brick Township Historical Society.

Mark Story Jenks July 03, 2011 at 12:50 PM
Dan, thanks for clearing that "Invasive Plant" matter up. I was about to take a scythe to the rhubarb.
Concerned Brick Citizen July 03, 2011 at 08:16 PM
Dan, Thank you for speaking out on “Patch”. I’m glad you are clearing this issue up. I like Disgusted homeowner is tired of the run around from the various departments. If they (Portable Basketball Hoops) are illegal on our streets they need to go. I will be in contact with you and Jeff Carroll. this week. I will provide specific addresses, although they are easy to spot, and expect swift action. I hope that “Disgusted” and others do the same. Thank you!
Fred July 04, 2011 at 12:27 AM
What are you people going to go after next? Kids skipping rope? Get a life, will you please?
Dan Toth July 04, 2011 at 02:14 AM
We are not "going after" anything in particular... we are informing residents of particular statutes on file... it is similar to Miranda whereas we inform as to what laws of protection one has available in any particular situation. It is, and always has been, my belief that I would rather see children playing basketball in the street instead of in front of a television, playing games, or dealing drugs in a back alley.
Dan Toth July 04, 2011 at 02:16 AM
I believe this resident's concern is extremely long term storage of portable basketball hoops in a roadway, causing obstructions for motorists... a safety and aesthetical issue.
BW July 04, 2011 at 02:20 AM
"a safety and aesthetical issue" So is the foodtown property. What are you doing about that? It has been more then 2 years since it was "sold"
Dan Toth July 04, 2011 at 02:30 AM
As for FoodTown, I cannot comment as I need to abstain on any and all matters regarding that property. If you would like any info, please contact admin at 732-262-1050... sorry I can't help you with that one.
Fred July 04, 2011 at 10:24 AM
Dan, I certainly wasn't referring to you. I was referring to some of the people who write in and constantly complain about things like basketball hoops. I too would rather see children play in the street and bring their laughter and competitiveness to a neighborhood. There are too many people in this Town who forgot that they too were once 10 years old. If the hoops were causing an obstruction for motorists, don't you thing the Police would also have noticed it? What does "Disgusted Homeowner" do on trash pickup day?, call the Township and complain about obstructions in the roadway? Live and let live.
disgusted homeowner July 04, 2011 at 11:42 AM
Fred, no one even uses this court anymore. I have to dodge the thing EVERY TIME I back out of my driveway and the owner REFUSES to move it over a few feet. For the thousands of dollars per year in taxes I pay over 53 years I live here. it's not too much too ask for. Access and egress from my own driveway and I don't care whether YOU LIKE IT OR NOT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
disgusted homeowner July 04, 2011 at 11:57 AM
@Fred, if it was blocking the rear of YOUR DRIVEWAY, you would complain too stupid!!!
Mark Story Jenks July 04, 2011 at 12:38 PM
Why don't you just back in to it, run it over while in reverse. It may help you let off some steam. Happy Independence Day.
disgusted homeowner July 04, 2011 at 12:47 PM
Only if you agree to pay for the damage to my car Mark!!!!!!!!
Mark Story Jenks July 04, 2011 at 12:56 PM
Disgusted homeowner, if you get hit in the stern it's not your fault. Whoever left it there is responsible. Just say it fell on your car.
Concerned Brick Citizen July 04, 2011 at 01:46 PM
No one is being a kill joy here. It is about saftey, aesthetics and quality of life. There are proper places for these. But some people just don't care if they are intrusive on their neighbors. The one at Dock Road and Mantoloking Road is a recipe for disaster. Just wait until some kid chases a rebound out into this busy street. Or the ball causes someone to swerve and causes an accident. Also drivers need to avoid the structure.
PoisonIvy Removalcom July 04, 2011 at 06:19 PM
We successfully have been removing poison ivy/oak/sumac, kudzu and bamboo for well over 45 years. We have witnessed first hand all health risks associated with any one of these poison to the touch plants and all the illness all being caused to those who exist and remain highly allergic once plant contact has been made. In rarer instances poison ivy plants can lead to ones own death thru either burning the plant and directly inhaling the smoke, next causes your lungs to develop same rash as on your skin, only now these blisters rupture and you drown/suffocate in your own bodily fluids. Alternatively the poison ivy rash can leave you open to post secondary infection, enters the blood thru ruptured open skin that is known as MRSA also know to cause you to die. Apparently you remain needlessly misinformed and are uneducated to those who lessor knowing individuals who remain unaware as to what this plant best looks like or the life threatening health risk consequences associated when an unsuspecting individual needlessly comes into direct contact with either poison ivy/oak/sumac from passing thru a public space or someone else's private property, is 100% avoidable. Or an innocent dog walker gets the rash from touching their own pet's fur. This is not some friendly weed liken to dandelion or crabgrass. See www.poisonivyremoval.com
Nick July 06, 2011 at 05:50 PM
Its a shame that ignorant people that do not bother to educate themselves about bamboo have to ruin it for others! Not only is their a clumping (non-spreading) varitey, but there is a way to contain running bamboo. Simply install the bamboo rhizome barrier before planting...a barrier that is specifically made for this purpose. It is aggrevating that uneducated officials are doing this. If this is such a problem, why don't they go after the people that did not install a barrier? Instead they are blinding banning a beautiful plant. Ridicuolous!!!!!!!!!
Dan Toth July 06, 2011 at 06:21 PM
Nick, The Ordinance SPECIFICALLY differentiates between spreading and clumping bamboo. It also does not BAN anything!!! I apologize that this article does not give many details, but all of your concerns are, indeed, covered in this ordinance. Your question of "why don't they go after the people that did not install a barrier?" is what this addresses. If you grow bamboo, great! It's beautiful... but it must be "contained properly". That's all there is to it. Sorry for any confusion...
Robert July 06, 2011 at 08:20 PM
I've gotta wonder why ?
Dan Toth July 06, 2011 at 09:02 PM
Robert, to clarify on the FoodTown issue, I am choosing to abstain from any and all matters regarding this property because my father is a real estate agent and has been in contact with the developer, presumably about finding tenants for the site. I have already requested an advisory opinion from the new jersey department of community affairs on how to conduct myself because of this and they agree with my decision to abstain.
mike53 July 06, 2011 at 09:30 PM
Dan, you are better off taking that position than being accused of conflict of interest, etc. if you actually voted on some issue concerning that site. Smart move.....
PoisonIvy Removalcom July 07, 2011 at 12:48 PM
We at poisonivyremoval.com professionals, have 45 years experience at removing poison ivy and bamboo - either one of both these plants are menacing and harmful. This intended law is a good one. It will serve to protect the public from a host of menacing destructive plants, poison ivy and bamboo. Once either plant escapes or overgrows it's rightful property owners property boundary lines, it next becomes a imposing health threat (poison ivy) or menacing destructive force of nature (bamboo), both must be dealt with accordingly. Either way both plants cost unassuming neighbors hundreds if not thousands of $ to have either one of these plants professionally removed and properly disposed of. This law is intended to protect the public, is no different than if your dog escaped outside your property and was held responsible for next biting someone. In that case what would you do?
Mark Story Jenks July 07, 2011 at 05:09 PM
I commend you for that.
BW July 07, 2011 at 08:17 PM
Bonnie, let me tell you somethingv my grandmother told me along time ago, "you must GIVE respect to GET respect. The mayor has absolutely no respect for the taxpayers. He has lied to them, he has threatened them, he has gone so far as to terrorize senior citizens to get what he wants. So save the "how dare you" speech for the mayor. One thing I am not is a brown noser (unlike others here).
BW July 07, 2011 at 08:21 PM
Dan, I respect your candor on the foodtown subject. It is nice to know that some here in town still have the morals and respect for the taxpayers. However, the secrectcy and lies revolving around that property is like a festering wound in the community.
Concerned Brick Citizen July 08, 2011 at 06:28 PM
Bonnie, living on the water has always had a premium tax. However in the past few years, the burden for all of the township's outrageous wasteful spending sprees has led to an unjustified increase in all levels of township income revenues.There is a huge disparity between waterfront real estate taxes and similar inland homes across the street (a bigger house, bigger piece of property, lower taxes). We don't complain about our tax bill showing 50% plus for the school tax and having no children. We don't complain that we use limited services for public works and produce less trash than a family with several children. We do expect a well run police department. We should expect that the laws and codes of our township be enforced. We expect respect from our civil employees. Waterfront homeowners should not be subjected to jealous rages. Just tired of hearing "fair share". There's plenty of blame to go around for past mistakes, but being hard working, successful and frugal is not a crime. In spite of the misconception that waterfront homeowners are "rich", maybe some have improved their station in life, saved and invested when times were better. See how easy it can be, justifying why people don't have the money to buy a waterfront home. It's all about choice. Stop this class war attitude. It only hurts the community. We all want to live in safe, clean and well maintained neighborhoods, whether you are rich, poor, owner or renter.
Mark Story Jenks July 08, 2011 at 08:27 PM
This comment strays from the story somewhat, but I felt compelled to reply and agree to to the comment above from "Concerned Brick Citizen". I feel almost exactly the same way. It stinks like reverse discrimination, the way us waterfront taxpayers are getting whacked. Especially in light of the fact that the State of New Jersey considers our river to be "Grossly Polluted". And the fact that it is only usable 50% of the time since there is only 6 inches of water at low tide. And the mud and sediment is loaded with dioxin and a whole lot of other nasty chemicals and heavy metals. Oh, sorry, I forgot... it's the view, right? Our view is a noisy marina.
C July 09, 2011 at 12:59 PM
All I can say is "Vote em out in November!" Don't they have more important things to worry about than bamboo plants? Like how to balance the budget & keep our taxes down! Enough with all the silly ordinances. This article is making a mockery of Brick!
BW July 09, 2011 at 01:08 PM
Carol I dont think it is the article that is making Brick a laughing stock. That honor goes to Steve and his town circus. What is really sad, is every day you see more and more for sale signs going up and more and more houses and businesses sitting empty. But Hell we need to raise the taxes right? I mean dont you dock your yacht in Traders cove? Or arent you saving for the luxury condo on the old foodtown property? Or maybe you would rather a hockey stadium in the center of town. Or maybe, just maybe, we need to raise the taxes because another friend or family member needs a 5 figure raise so they can pay off their IRS liens! Oh but wait, yes, why didnt I think of this before! I bet someone in the circus, has a relative who does plant removal and is looking for a contract for his business!
Tara May 19, 2013 at 08:22 PM
From someone who is currently dealing with a neighbors bamboo spreading to my front lawn and under my siding, I can say I am thankful for this ordinance. When we politely approached our neighbor to tell him his bamboo is overtaking our property, his response was "mow it over". We have done that however it grows at a ridiculous rate. In addition to the threat to our siding, our underground sprinkler system is also compromised. We spent many years and alot of money to get our lawn to where it is todat only to have to tear it up due to a neighbors negligiance. We have 2 year old twins who play on this lawn and these hard, thick spikes petruding from it everywhere pose a huge safety hazard to unsteady toddlers. Our quote from the landscaper to properly remove the bamboo from our property and properly baricade the fence line to prevent further spreading was almost $5, 000 which we just don't have. I am hoping to get some help from the township because the friendly neighbor approach is getting us nowhere.
Glenn May 19, 2013 at 08:55 PM
When I cut the bamboo, I fill the empty stalk with a 50/50 mix of water and Roundup using a plastic syringe I got out of a child's doctor kit. It appears to control the spreading. Also a lot of the bamboo appears to have suffered from the saltwater flooding from Sandy. Perhaps pouring salt on the source would help. Of course you could always complain to your code enforcement officer.

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