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Bamboo (photo via Fairfax County)

Fairfax County’s running bamboo ordinance won’t start until 2023, but its implications are spreading almost as rapidly as the plant it seeks to contain.

On Tuesday (March 22), the county’s Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance that takes effect on Jan. 1, prohibiting people from letting running bamboo spread to someone else’s property.

If a complaint is filed, property owners will receive a notice of violation that requires the issue to be fixed within 30 days.

“It’s going to be imperfect,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said of the ordinance, requesting staff provide annual reports to see if it needed to be adjusted in the future.

County officials stressed that they will primarily seek to address running bamboo issues through education and encouraging voluntary compliance.

But the ordinance does allow fines of $50 per day as well as $200 per day for additional cases involving a property.

Maximum penalties for a single case were capped at $2,000 in a one-year period, but there’s no limit to the amount of penalties an individual can accrue over multiple cases.

During the meeting, Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust raised concerns about implementing the ordinance but said he felt the board needed to act on the issue.

Foust pushed to lower the cap from $3,000 to $2,000, an amendment to the ordinance that the board passed 9-1, with Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross opposing. She said judges frequently lower the amounts that people could face.

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