Independence considers outlawing bamboo plants

Couple faces potential fine for planting bamboo

INDEPENDENCE, Mo - A proposed ban on bamboo in Independence could cost homeowners big bucks.

Martha Do and her husband have a backyard full of bamboo. They use the fence as a wall to prevent people from breaking into their backyard after their cars were broken into twice.

"Kids love to come through our backyard; they go in the creek and you'll see them out there and they'll throw cans and cigarettes and food,” Do said.

Andrew Warlin works for the health department in Independence, which is in charge of the city’s code compliance. He says they’ve only received two complaints for bamboo out of the more than 6,600 complaints.

“We typically get complaints on just how fast bamboo grows and how it can spread into other neighbors yards,” he said.

If the ban is passed, Do and anyone else could face fines up to $500 for having exotic bamboo.

The majority of the complaints have been in Do's neighborhood. Only she and one other homeowner have bamboo in her neighborhood and that home is up for sale.

"You know, you just throw your hands up in the air. I mean what do you do?" She said.

City council members will have a final vote on the ban later this month. If the ban is approved, enforcement would begin May 30. 

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