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Thread: Beekeeping ordinance

  1. #1
    Cyburbian MacheteJames's avatar
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    Beekeeping ordinance

    Hey everyone,

    There have been a few property owners here who have expressed interest in keeping bees in order to produce homemade honey. Currently, we have nothing in our code that addresses this, though any complaint between neighbors involving bees would be interpreted so as to fall under our nuisance law. My question is this: has anyone out there amended an existing animals ordinance or produced a specialized beekeeping ordinance to deal with the potential issues surrounding the keeping of bees? Obviously, there are going to be some issues to watch out for, such as ensuring that they keep a supply of water close to the apiary so that the bees don't stray off the property in search of water, ensuring that it is adequately enclosed, etc. Has anyone else dealt with this? Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian fringe's avatar
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    In our small town bees are listed as a permitted use, but owner must have mayor's permission.

    If you wanted to establish any kinds of area standards you should ask some local beekeepers for suggestions. I have kept a single colony for many years, and don't do anything with them. They are just good to have. Bees need an open "flyway", and will go straight up if they have to. There is no way you can contain them on property, but they generally don't go any farther than they have to. My colony currently flies right across my compost pile, but also straight up between trees. I plan to erect a little fence to direct them up and over the compost zone, as one got caught in my glasses last spring and stung my eyelid.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by MacheteJames View post
    there are going to be some issues to watch out for, such as ensuring that they keep a supply of water close to the apiary so that the bees don't stray off the property in search of water, ensuring that it is adequately enclosed, etc. Has anyone else dealt with this? Thoughts?
    How are you going to keep them from straying off the property in search of nectar?

    I haven't amended but practiced where they were permitted. IME you want to limit the number of hives, or depending on your overall density, restrict the species. You can do this via permitted use or special use if zoned R. A 7000 sf lot won't support a Euro honeybee hive without conflict, so you'll want to contact your Ag Extension for their sense of what is doable in your area on such a lot size, as well as what literature they have for you so the folks coming to the counter understand what they want. Beekeeping for honey is a serious hobby and newlyweds wanting to go green might not know this. Mason bees for pollination of veggies is a different situation and should be permitted as long as there aren't 1000 tubes.
    -------
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  4. #4
    Cyburbian MacheteJames's avatar
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    You guys rock. This is the kind of stuff that I needed to know. This community is a densely developed inner ring suburb with a predominance of small lot sizes, so this'll be tricky to implement if it's even possible.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by MacheteJames View post
    There have been a few property owners here who have expressed interest in keeping bees in order to produce homemade honey. ...
    Quote Originally posted by MacheteJames View post
    ... This community is a densely developed inner ring suburb with a predominance of small lot sizes, so this'll be tricky to implement if it's even possible.
    So these folks don't know anything about bees. When you get a minute, get the Dewey Decimal number of beekeeping from your library for these folks to help them learn. I can't speak to your situation, but 4-5 people wouldn't cause me to prioritize updating the regs to limit honeybees, unless your community is startting to get the Victory Garden bug.
    -------
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  6. #6
    Cyburbian ursus's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    So these folks don't know anything about bees. When you get a minute, get the Dewey Decimal number of beekeeping from your library for these folks to help them learn. I can't speak to your situation, but 4-5 people wouldn't cause me to prioritize updating the regs to limit honeybees, unless your community is startting to get the Victory Garden bug.
    Right on. We recently decided against increasing allowances for hives in the dense suburb I plan for, but in nearby Salt Lake they adopted quite a detailed ordinance last year allowing "urban bee-keeping". I don't have a link, but it's all online if you look at Salt Lake's ordinances, they're searchable.
    "...I would never try to tick Hink off. He kinda intimidates me. He's quite butch, you know." - Maister

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    We have nothing in the "regs" but we do have an administrative policy regarding bee keeping. We allow them in our larger lots to avoid the conflicts mentioned above in our more urban lots:


    Section 9-3.701 of the Municipal Code defines “bee farms” as a livestock specialty. Livestock specialties are allowed in the Agriculture zone, and are conditionally allowed in the Residential Suburban zone.

    A “bee hive” is defined as any object or container intended for the use of bees, or taken possession of by bees. The keeping of more than four (4) bee hives on a single lot is considered a bee farm. Bee farms are considered a commercial business and require a business license and a minor Conditional Use Permit.

    Requirements
    (A) Bee Farm. The keeping of more than four (4) bee hives on a single lot.
    (1) Conditional Use Permit required in the Residential Suburban zone.
    (2) Minimum site area: No minimum site area.
    (3) Setbacks: Bee hives shall be located no closer than twenty five (25) feet from all property lines.
    (B) Hobby Bee keeping. The keeping of four (4) or fewer bee hives on a single lot.
    (1) Minimum site area: No minimum site area.
    (2) Setbacks: Bee colonies shall be located no closer than twenty five
    (25) feet from all property lines.
    No Signature Required

  8. #8
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CPSURaf View post
    We have nothing in the "regs" but we do have an administrative policy regarding bee keeping. We allow them in our larger lots to avoid the conflicts mentioned above in our more urban lots:


    Section 9-3.701 of the Municipal Code defines “bee farms” as a livestock specialty. Livestock specialties are allowed in the Agriculture zone, and are conditionally allowed in the Residential Suburban zone.

    A “bee hive” is defined as any object or container intended for the use of bees, or taken possession of by bees. The keeping of more than four (4) bee hives on a single lot is considered a bee farm. Bee farms are considered a commercial business and require a business license and a minor Conditional Use Permit.

    Requirements
    (A) Bee Farm. The keeping of more than four (4) bee hives on a single lot.
    (1) Conditional Use Permit required in the Residential Suburban zone.
    (2) Minimum site area: No minimum site area.
    (3) Setbacks: Bee hives shall be located no closer than twenty five (25) feet from all property lines.
    (B) Hobby Bee keeping. The keeping of four (4) or fewer bee hives on a single lot.
    (1) Minimum site area: No minimum site area.
    (2) Setbacks: Bee colonies shall be located no closer than twenty five
    (25) feet from all property lines.
    This sort of wording is why I mentioned mason bees. This is a reg only for honeybees. But - ssssshhhhhhh - mason bees don't bother anyone and people who keep them usu. don't bother to tell th' gummint. But this is key IMHO:
    allowed in the Agriculture zone, and are conditionally allowed in the Residential Suburban zone.
    That will help a lot.
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  9. #9
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    From my fair city's zoning code:

    911.04.A.2(b) Agriculture (Limited) With Beekeeping (listed as a Special Exception under our Code, which requires Zoning Board of Adjustment review)

    Agriculture (Limited) With Beekeeping shall be subject to the following standards:

    (1) The sale of non-mechanical agricultural and farm products that are grown, used, produced on-site, or are part of an affiliated Community Supported Agriculture program shall be permitted, and shall comply with the standards of Section 912.06, Outdoor Retail Sales and Service (Accessory Use);
    (2) The keeping of poultry birds, livestock, and domestic small farm animals is not permitted;
    (3) For property with a minimum of two-thousand (2,000) square feet in size, the -property owner is permitted to keep two (2) beehives. For every additional two-thousand (2,000) square feet of property, the owner is permitted two (2) additional beehive;
    (4) All structures necessary for and related to the housing of honeybees shall be subject to any required setbacks of the underlying zoning district, but shall in all cases be a minimum of ten (10) feet from any property line;
    (5) Ground mounted beehives shall be located no higher than six (6) feet from grade;
    (6) Ground mounted beehives shall be permitted in side and rear yards, and shall be provided an enclosed barrier along the property line six (6) feet in height consisting of a solid fence, dense vegetation or combination thereof, and in cases where there is ample yard-area, a flyway may be substituted for perimeter barriers, consisting of six (6) foot high barriers on both sides of the bee colony, creating a channel extending twenty (20) feet in each direction beyond each bee colony entrance;
    (7) All seed, fertilizer, or similar products shall be stored in a secured, rodent-proof container and housed within an enclosed structure; and
    (8) All applications shall be subject to the Environmental Overlay District regulations of Chapter 906.

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