Bees Not Allowed

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by bakpakr, Jul 19, 2012.

  1. bakpakr

    bakpakr New Member

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    I sent an email to my local borough counsel. I got an email back from our local zoning officer stating that bee keeping is not permitted in the borough. I know for a fact that there are several apiaries in the borough. Here is what he referenced as to preclude me from keeping bees;

    ANIMAL HUSBANDRY -- The raising and keeping of livestock, poultry or insects for commercial purposes, or any keeping of animals for any reason beyond what is allowed in a permitted stable or kennel or under the keeping of pets, in compliance with §*255-200D(6). Animal husbandry shall not include a bulk commercial slaughterhouse or a central commercial stockyard for animals awaiting slaughter.
    §*255-174. Nuisances or hazards prohibited.
    It is the responsibility of each landowner to ensure that no land or structure in any zoning district shall be used or occupied in any manner that creates any of the following activities or conditions:
    A. Communicable disease hazards, including activities that encourage the breeding of disease-prone insects and rodents.
    B. Activity that would create physically dangerous conditions, especially activities that would be easily accessible by small children.
    C. Activity that would prevent a neighboring landowner of ordinary sensitivities from making reasonable use of their property.
    D. Activity that would be a significant hazard to the public health and safety because of serious explosive, fire, biological or toxic hazards.


    Here is 255-200D6

    (6) Keeping of pets.xxxviiEN (Note: This does not pertain to animal husbandry which is regulated by § 255-
    199.)
    (a) This is a permitted by right accessory use in all districts unless otherwise stated.
    (b) No use shall involve the keeping of animals or fowl in such a manner that it creates a serious
    nuisance, including noise or smell or a health hazard or a safety hazard.
    (c) In the residential districts, no more than three dogs and no more than four cats may be kept, unless
    the nearest dwelling other than that of the owner is at least 300 feet from any area in which the
    animals are regularly kept. No numerical restriction shall apply to cats and dogs less than six
    months of age.
    (d) In any zoning district, not more than two horses may be stabled or maintained, provided that no
    structure housing the horses or area fenced in for their use is less than 50 feet from any lot line and
    is not closer than 150 feet to the nearest existing dwelling other than that of the owner.
    (e) Keeping of more than the specified number of cats or dogs or for commercial purposes shall be
    considered a kennel.
    (f) Keeping of more than the specified number of horses shall be considered a stable.


    I will hit on a few points that in my opinion would allow me to keep bees with this in place and also a few questions.

    1. This would not be a commercial endeavor. All products of the hive would be for personal consumption or be given away for free to friends and neighbors.

    2. Don't know how I can get past the provision of disease-prone. We all know that there are several diseases that the bees can get that would rear their ugly head to the powers that be. We are required in PA to register our hives and also have inspections in place to ensure they are disease free all conducted by the state.

    3. The bees would be segregated in such a manner that children and the general public would not have easy access to the hives.

    4. The bees would be maintained in such a manner as to not hinder neighbors from using their properties.

    5. I know bees are not a significant hazard to public safety.

    Any and all advice on how to proceed to either have bees or get the law changed is greatly welcomed.

    http://www.carlislepa.org/vertical/...ds/{14BD1A2C-1C82-4F30-AAD8-1BA0FBC14955}.PDF
     
  2. tmrschessie

    tmrschessie New Member

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    Maybe they will graze on grass when the bees are not around to pollinate the crops. Tom
     

  3. bakpakr

    bakpakr New Member

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    Yea really
     
  4. bakpakr

    bakpakr New Member

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    Here is what i sent in an email to the zoning officer.

    Thank you for the quick reply to my question.

    According to your attached reference I see that you may be wrong in that keeping bees is not permitted.

    "ANIMAL HUSBANDRY -- The raising and keeping of livestock, poultry or insects for commercial purposes, or any keeping of animals for any reason beyond what is allowed in a permitted stable or kennel or under the keeping of pets, in compliance with § 255-200D(6). Animal husbandry shall not include a bulk commercial slaughterhouse or a central commercial stockyard for animals awaiting slaughter"

    The bees would NOT be kept for commercial purposes. All products of the hive would be for personal consumption.



    A. Communicable disease hazards, including activities that encourage the breeding of disease-prone insects and rodents.

    The hives will be registered with the state as per law (copy attached). Also hives will be inspected for disease per law.



    B. Activity that would create physically dangerous conditions, especially activities that would be easily accessible by small children.

    Hives would be maintained in a manner to preclude easy access by children and or the general public. Bees are not classified as a dangerous organism unless disturbed and all prudent safety measures would be in place to preclude such activity.



    C. Activity that would prevent a neighboring landowner of ordinary sensitivities from making reasonable use of their property.

    Hives and bees would be maintained in a manner to not interfere with neighboring landowners reasonable use of their property.



    D. Activity that would be a significant hazard to the public health and safety because of serious explosive, fire, biological or toxic hazards.

    Bees and beekeeping do not present a significant hazard to public health and safety by any known authority.

    I will be in the near future proposing local legislation that will specifically address the keeping of Honey Bees within the borough.

    Thank you for your time.

    Bob
     
  5. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    I assume 'disease-prone' to mean diseases that might effect humans. Swine flu, bird flu, hoof and mouth, black plague...? Cats and dogs can have various cat & dog diseases for example, yet they don't prohibit them. You are especially protected by the fact that your hives are inspected by the state and found to be disease free.

    To me it sounds like you don't fall into any of the violations of the laws as stated.
     
  6. bakpakr

    bakpakr New Member

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    Agree with everything you state.

    I will be proposing a local ordinance that will specifically address beekeeping within the borough.

    I am not a lawyer so will be doing extensive research in the wording and hopefully enlisting some local beeks and clubs both at the local level and state level. National level organizations would also be nice.
     
  7. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Send a PM to forum member Jacobs. He is an attorney and was involved with the successful changing of the ordinance for beekeeping in Greensboro, NC. He may not be able to help in PA., but may be able to direct you in the right direction to get the info you need, and the correct way to proceed.
     
  8. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Member Indypartridge helped make a presentation for another member who was up against the same thing and they managed to get things turned around. He might be someone with the experience and background to tap into as well.
     
  9. pturley

    pturley New Member

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    You should likely review section 255-199D to see if bees or beekeeping is specifically prohibited. Otherwise, it doesn't appear to me (NOT A LAWYER BTW!) that there is any statute in the text cited that would prohibit you from keeping bees.

    Also, you'll need to look at the "RESIDENTIAL USE" statutes to see of agriculture pursuits are defined (beekeeping in particular).
     
  10. bakpakr

    bakpakr New Member

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    Will do thanks!!

    Will do thanks!!

    There is nothing in any of the ordinances or statutes that specifically address or call out bees or bee keeping.

    The only things I could find that specifically address or call out bee keeping are at the state level. And they specify that all hives must be inspected and registered with the state. Also they state that all bee imported into PA must be inspected and have a document affixed to the container documenting the inspection was completed and the bees are in conformance of the law.

    Nothing I could find at the state level would preclude me from having bees. It is only when I get to the local level that they are interpreting the law to preclude keeping bees when it does not specifically address bees.
     
  11. Slowmodem

    Slowmodem New Member

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    Have you spoken to any of those folks? Perhaps they have an opinion on how they comply. They might not be aware of the ordinances you have specified. Perhaps you could all get together and either get clarifying documentation from the borough that beekeeping is allowed, or else you could all try to get the ordinances changed to allow beekeeping.

    Two (or more) heads are better than one (most of the time).

    Good luck! :)
     
  12. bakpakr

    bakpakr New Member

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    No I have yet to speak to any of them. But I will be.
     
  13. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    If there are others in the borough they may not want to come forward because of being found out that they are keeping bees. I would still talk to them though.

    Most times they will try to get you with the nuisance part of the law. Those that do not understand how animals act and behave are the ones to ban them the quickest.

    good luck with it!!
     
  14. bakpakr

    bakpakr New Member

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    Here is what I have so far for an amendment to the local zoning law. Tell me what you think and any suggestions, additions, corrections or what have you appreciated.

    § 255-255 APIARIES
    Beekeeping – Maintenance of colonies – Nuisances designated.
    A. It shall be the duty of any person having honey bees, Apis Mellifera, on his or her property to maintain each colony so as not to create a public nuisance.

    B. Honey bee colonies shall, in addition, be maintained in the following condition:

    1. All honey bee hives shall be registered with the Pennsylvania State Department of Agriculture as required by 3 Pa.C.S.A. §§ 2101 – 2117.

    2. Colonies shall be maintained in movable-frame hives.

    3. Adequate techniques, such as requeening, in handling bees, and adequate space in the hive shall be maintained to prevent unprovoked stinging 75 feet or more from the hive.

    4. Lots having less than 10,000 square feet shall not have more than four hives.

    5. Hives shall not be located within 75 feet of any property line, public street, sidewalk, or alley except when situated behind a solid fence or hedge six feet in height parallel to any property line within 25 feet of the hive and extending at least 20 feet beyond the hive in both directions, or if such fence completely encloses the hives.

    C. All other nests (colonies) of stinging insects, such as yellow jackets, hornets, and wasps, including Vespidae, in trees, buildings, underground, or in any other space, and diseased colonies of honey bees, constitute public nuisances.

    Enforcement and entry – Right of entry for inspection.

    A. The Cumberland County Health Department and the Carlisle Borough Police Department shall enforce this chapter.

    B. Proper officers of the Cumberland County Health Department and any Carlisle Borough Police Officers are authorized and empowered, during reasonable business hours, to enter premises to inspect hives or colonies for the purpose of ascertaining the variety of insects occupying the hives, conditions of health, and management of crowding. Entry may be pursuant to warrant or pursuant to the consent of the owner or occupier of the premises, or without consent or warrant if there is probable cause to believe that a violation of this chapter is occurring on the premises and evidence thereof will be lost or destroyed before a warrant can be issued.
     
  15. CarrollwoodBees

    CarrollwoodBees New Member

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    Go to State Agriculture Lobbyist and have them change the law

    We had the same dolts here in Hillsborough County, especially the know-it-all lawyer on the Commission who unilaterally decided that bees were dangerous. The other namby-pamby commissioners deferred to him. They passed a restrictive law that required a $201 permit, neighbor notification of 100 yards and 50' setback with a 6' barrier. When the local and state beekeeping association had no success fighting it, they went to the Farm Bureau's lobbyist who contacted a couple of ag committee members. They wrote up a law that said local communities cannot restrict beekeeping under the ag laws. It passed and raspberries to the ignorant commissioners. We, of course, have to obey the state's best management practices and pay $10 to the state for a permit. You could do all sorts of petitioning to the local boards, but it won't help because they are either so uninformed about honeybees and their benefits, or are just pandering to the fears of the ignorant. Either way, we wasted a lot of time and mileage trying to counteract political ignorance. Just go the Dept of Agriculture in your state and have them take care of it, otherwise it could end up a lot worse.
     
  16. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

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    Most of it looks good:

     
  17. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Eddy beat me to it.
    Get rid of B - 3
    I also think I would agree with Eddy and drop C as well.
     
  18. bakpakr

    bakpakr New Member

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    Sounds good on dropping C.

    How about if I change B3 to;

    Not manage or disturb colonies if neighbors or the general public are participating in outdoor activities or using machinery within 75 feet of apiary.
     
  19. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    I think you are leaving too many loopholes open for neighbors to arbitrarily claim your bees are 'a nuisance'.

    What if your neighbor says they like to BBQ outside with their kids all weekend long, mow their lawn on the weekends, and their mother in law likes to sunbathe during the week- then you can never work your bees because they are always engaged in 'outdoor activities'.
    Don't give the neighbors God-like powers to be able to control other people's bees based on their every whim and irrational fear.

    I wouldn't have "A." separate, because anyone can claim your bees are 'a nuisance'...just because they don't like having any bees visit their yard or flowers. Instead, word it like "Bees will maintained in the following manner so as not to create a nuisance:....".

    Yes get rid of C altogether. Nobody keeps wasps as a hobby, and mentioning stinging wasps makes people scared about bees too.

    I think the fence stuff is too restrictive. 75 feet is excessive, and so is 20 feet in both directions or completely enclosing the hive. Any 6 foot tall fence that is at least 15 feet long between the hive and a neighboring yard should guide the bees up and away from the neighbors.

    Not sure about the police part...should police be allowed to barge into your property to assess whether your hive is too crowded or your bees healthy? Do they know how to inspect hives or test for bee diseases? Is that a usual law over there? Sure isn't here! :shock:
     
  20. bakpakr

    bakpakr New Member

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    I agree. This is a work in progress and it will definitely see many changes before the final draft.

    I dropped both 3 and C. Also took you suggestion on the Fence and changed it to;

    4. Hives shall not be located within 25 feet of any property line, public street, sidewalk, or alley except when situated behind a solid fence or hedge six feet in height parallel to any property line within 10 feet of the hive and extending at least 15 feet beyond the hive in both directions.



    That was from the example that I had. It called out the police. I am not sure how to change it but feel we need to give the borough the ability to address and concerns. I am thinking adding wording to the effect the the State Apiary Inspectors be the final authority in this.