PARKERSBURG - City Council might face sanctions from the United Nations, but that didn't stop it from approving the first reading of an ordinance to prohibit the planting of bamboo within the city.
The first reading of the ordinance was approved by a 6-2 vote Tuesday. Council members Nancy Wilcox and John Sandy voted no. Councilman Tom Joyce was absent.
Under the proposed ordinance bamboo would be prohibited from being planted or grown within the city.
Photos by Jody Murphy
Council members Brad Kimes and John Sandy discuss matters with development director Ann Conageski prior to Tuesday’s city council meeting.
Sandy half-jokingly suggested using bamboo as a potential source of revenue. He pointed out the United Nations has called for action to halt the destruction of bamboo. And the Smithsonian National Zoo is seeking bamboo for its pandas.
Sandy made the motion to table the ordinance to the revenue enhancement committee, to explore converting the city's bamboo into a possible revenue stream. Sandy's motion died- not from laughter - but lack of a second.
Council member Sharyn Tallman took Sandy's jest in stride.
"I'm sure there are parts of the world where bamboo should be planted," she said.
Two citizens spoke in the public forum about bamboo. One spoke against the ordinance, noting the city had other things to worry about, including other invasive plants.
"Some of the plants mentioned are invasive, but not in the way bamboo is invasive," Councilman Mike Reynolds said.
Reynolds, a longtime landscaper, said the only way to remove the grass is to dig it out.
A second resident spoke in favor of the ordinance, echoing Tallman's concerns, stating a neighbor's bamboo was destroying her storage shed.
Tallman said she will not benefit from the passage of the ordinance.
"This is an issue where I was already damaged," she said. "The damage is done."
Councilman Jim Reed asked how the city would enforce the ban. Mayor Bob Newell said officials would not be able to do anything about existing bamboo, but if the invasive grass encroaches onto neighboring property it would fall to code enforcement.
He said penalties for violations would involve a fine.
"Criminally, all we do is give citations."
Council also approved a resolution reappointing Blaine Myers to a three-year term as administrative law judge.