An Edgehill Terrace resident told the Board of Selectmen Tuesday that her yard has been ruined by her neighbor’s bamboo trees.
“This is the worst of the worst of invasive, non-native plants,” said Caryn Rickel.
Rickel showed the Selectmen a root ball she had dug up and said the running bamboo her neighbor planted in 1994 is spreading everywhere. She wanted the Selectmen to create a local law prohibiting people from growing invasive plants.
Running bamboo is not on the state’s list of invasive plants, but it can grow vigorously if left unchecked.
“It can grow two feet in one day,” she told the Board of Selectmen.
First Selectman Paul Roy said the matter is a dispute between neighbors.
“Our zoning enforcement officer and blight officials have checked into the issue. The town does not have any regulations concerning this plant and it is not on the state’s list of invasive plants. The zoning enforcement officer has checked all sources for information on the plant and it is not something illegal so at this point it would seem to be a private matter, “ Roy said.
Rickel has filed a civil lawsuit against her neighbor, Michael and Roberta Komaromi, who she said planted the bamboo.
The Komaromis have an unpublished telephone number and could not be reached for comment.
The law firm that represents the family — Loughlin Fitzgerald in Wallingford — declined to comment Wednesday.
However, the lawsuit states the bamboo has snaked its way into three properties.
“The hair roots and rhizomes are every place and extend approx 80 feet along my property lines,” Rickel writes in her lawsuit. “My land has been ruined by this planting . . .”
What began as what looked like six cornstalks has turned into a nightmare, the lawsuit states. The bamboo is 40-feet tall in spots, Rickel said.
Rickel claims that her neighbor planted the bamboo without the required underground plastic barrier. She claimed he attempted to install a barrier several months ago, but it was too late as the root systems have overtaken her property.
She has also contacted state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who wrote a letter in August to the University of Connecticut’s Invasive Plants Council asking the group to consider adding running bamboo trees to the invasive species list.
Rickel is seeking an unspecified amount of damages in her lawsuit.
The Komaromis have filed for a motion to dismiss the case, partly on grounds that there is no law or regulation against the purchase and planting of running Bamboo.
The court has not decided on the motion.