HoneyBees Defined As Rodents & Banned

Discussion in 'Bee News' started by riverbee, Apr 9, 2013.

  1. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    the article here:

    No beekeeping in Burnsville, council says


    i have been steaming about this since last evening. This is where my city rural residence is on a half acre. i also own an 80 acre residence in rural wisconsin where my bees are kept, but i have nurtured nucleus hives at my BVL residence. the article is from a weekly paper and i did not see this until yesterday, the snow plow took out my paper box and sent it down the street in early january, thus delay, and any comment on it, a little late.

    well ef, i guess this is my first chance to educate, really didn't want this type of challenge, school kids are a breeze when it comes to talking about bugs, but city politicians?. i'd like to help the guy out that went before the council, he want's to keep bees, so i will track him down. we are familiar with the mayor. mr rb is a legal hat, so has had a number of contacts with her, and understands city thinking at the ordinance level.

    i need some input of collective minds here. i would like to meet with the mayor, but 'talk is cheap', and show and tell really is the way to go, and in my situation, i can't really show her an observation hive or invite her or other council members to observe, and see them, touch them up close while i work honey bees. (she would if invited). i need to educate her about bee types and bee phobia, stings and reactions, and yes, my own story. paperwork and handouts on a politicians desk i am guessing, about something they don't care about is going to wind up in the file permanently category.....the trash.
    your thoughts are greatly welcomed.

    some snippets:
    “There are people who are afraid of bees and allergic to bees and oh, my,†Mayor Elizabeth Kautz said."
    -oh my yes, mayor. allergic or phobic ? i think i might ask her to check with the local er room and ask the er docs how many they treat for bee phobia, and normal large local reactions rather than systemic reactions, or visit with my allergy doc to determine what most folks are getting injections for. not bees, allergies to everything but.

    "Beekeeping might be acceptable on the larger residential lots in semirural southwest Burnsville, Council Member Dan Kealey said."
    -this is where we are. not sure i want to be a target, and law abiding as i am, i will not volunteer that i have already kept bees here. my neighbors don't have a problem with it.

    "In Burnsville, the hang-up is that bees are defined by ordinance as rodents. Buildings and exterior properties are to be kept free of rodent “harborage and infestation,†city code says."

    the ordinance (in part):

    "RODENT: Any animals or insects commonly seeking to make their home within the interior of a permanent structure, including birds, bats, bees, wasps, moths, squirrels, mice and rats.

    Rodent Harborage: All structures and exterior property shall be kept free from rodent harborage and infestation. Where rodents are found, they shall be promptly exterminated by approved processes which will not be injurious to human health. After extermination, proper precautions shall be taken to eliminate rodent harborage and prevent reinfestation.

    btw the city has the right to see that extermination gets done.

    so like i said, any suggestions you may have to help me educate the mayor, is greatly appreciated. i need to get her attention the first time around, and some sort of impact. my purpose is to educate her first, not change her mind. i may likely never get anywhere but the first impression has to be the best, i don't want her rolling her eyes, when she see's me coming in the future.....:grin:
     
  2. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Hey Riverbee.
    You may be in luck. I believe member Indypartridge lives in Indiana and if I'm not mistaken actually went to the aid of another keep in the area and did a presentation before council that had a ban or proposed ban on beekeeping overturned. if my memory is right, he may be able to provide you will some insight and valuable information.
     

  3. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    My first thought is, beekeeping is not covered as the ordinance is written. The hives are not in a permanent structure. It is portable.


    "RODENT: Any animals or insects commonly seeking to make their home within the interior of a permanent structure, including birds, bats, bees, wasps, moths, squirrels, mice and rats.



    Secondly, I would contact Kim Flottum at Bee Culture Magazine. He is working on city ordinances nationwide, and has much info and influence in the matter. He has requested an email concerning any city or municipality enacting an ordinance restricting or banning bees. He will help.

    Kim@BeeCulture.com
     
  4. Lburou

    Lburou Member

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    Riverbee, you might get help if your State has classified bees as something other than rodents.....? That would trump local rules I would expect. Good luck! :)
     
  5. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    "My first thought is, beekeeping is not covered as the ordinance is written. The hives are not in a permanent structure. It is portable."

    a sharp eye iddee and you are correct and right on.....and my husband has pointed this out in the verbage of the ordinance and legal argument. thanks for the tip on kim flottum, and i will follow up on this, and i have emailed him before on another matter. thank you.

    thanks perry, if indy doesn't find this thread i will send him a p.m..

    lee, state government does not govern or supercede, what our cities and counties put in place for codes and ordinances. uhm, guidelines, if you will, then what the cities and counties decide within the generic guidelines.....best way i can put this. just as the federal government does not rule over the states rights and decisions....again, best way i can put this.
     
  6. Lburou

    Lburou Member

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    I take your point riverbee, but I have seen State law written to tie the hands of local governments.....Worth a try. :)
     
  7. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    What he means, rb, is a local cannot go directly against a state law, no more than a state could legalize booze during prohibition. If a state law says you can or can't, then the city cannot change that. Most states say you can keep bees UNLESS prohibited by local ordinance. Then the locals can do what they want.
     
  8. blueblood

    blueblood New Member

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    .....................sigh:|
     
  9. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    iddee and lee,
    thanks iddee, yes you are correct, cities can prohibit keeping bees by local ordinance given the general guidelines of the state, and have the power to do so, honey bees are not a protected insect. as an example to what i said, the federal government says marijuana is illegal yet there are states that have passed laws to legalize it for medicinal purposes......
    anyway let's not get sidetracked on this or the legal issues.

    lee, i hear what you are saying, i appreciate your input, i have all the legal adivice of a law firm and political clout at my disposal, but what i need is some other form of ammo. if i were to get in the faces of my city about legal issues without anything else to bring to the table, the city might be inclined to pass another ordinance. when it comes to honey bees in minnesota and wisconsin, the law is not written to tie their hands. it just isn't on this issue, and my guess is, when it comes to honey bees in other states, is not. i really don't want to point out their legal dents with no personal interface to back it up; it might set off passing stricter and a more definable ordinance, and no honey bees, period. so more of an uphill battle. so i need to look at the big picture. in other words lee, legal rhetoric and pointing out legal dents just brings out more legal 'guns' to fix the legal 'dents'.....

    hope i made sense?
     
  10. Lburou

    Lburou Member

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    You make sense, good luck....You'll find a chink in their armor. :)
     
  11. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    well thanks lee, the thing about this is and i forgot to mention, mr rb's firm represents and is the city attorney for 3 cities surrounding burnsville, they are and have been vying for bvl's contract. sooo...i have plenty of legal and political support....
    i just need input from the less legal and political to educate political and legal folks.....BEEKEEPERS.....:lol:
     
  12. Ray

    Ray Member

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    Maybe I am reading the ordinance wrong but:
    you must " promptly exterminated by approved processes"
    all songbirds(protected spieces) and squirrels(game animal) on your property
    you must "eliminate rodent harborage and prevent reinfestation."
    cut down all the trees and brush on your property

    Maybe you can get the ordinance thrown out on these grounds?

    Good luck Riverbee!
     
  13. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    ray, i posted two of the most important parts of the city ordinance regarding rodents, which includes the honey bee in their ridiculous definition, but it does not say cut down all the trees and brush. it refers to permanent structures, interior and exterior, as iddee picked up on. if we were required to cut down trees, this would be a task, this is a semi rural area on heavily wooded lots, with lots of brush and berry bushes. the trees would be mature healthy trees, oaks, maples, walnuts, ash, and cotton woods that have stood for, well, a long time and city officials, they would be total idiots. i have a cottonwood in my back 40 that was struck by lightening some years back, if that thing falls down, well, it will hit my roof, lay across the street and land on the neighbors roof.....i do have good insurance.

    i am not looking to throw out an ordinance, if it happens along the way, great......i am looking to educate the city politicians that make these decisions. and i really don't want to get into a pi&&ing contest over an ordinance with the mayor or city council members from the get go. educate them first then comes the legal pi&&ng contest. i don't want them to get wise right away and change or add an ordinance that is specific to honey bees and no beekeeping.

    it's strategy, not just for me but for everyone else like the 20 year old guy that went to the council all by himself. i have the legal stuff covered, and i don't have to do the work.....just a little....:grin: the hardest part for me is deciding what i need to do to educate with diplomacy, and that's what i'm asking for help with.

    what would you do if you had your mayor's ear.....? i know her well enough, that she will give me the time and listen. i don't want to talk ordinance's, i want to talk to her about honey bees first.

    i would just like some ideas from all about how i might talk to the mayor and or city council members. if i could take the bees to them or bring them to the bees this might help some, but i can't.
     
  14. Ray

    Ray Member

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    I see where your coming from.

    Riverbee:
    "what would you do if you had your mayor's ear"
    I guess, I would give it back to her.
    :lol:

    Started typing and went advanced on this post and can't kill it now.
    So I
    thought I would add a little levity,
     
  15. Zulu

    Zulu Member

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    A rodent by definition is a mammal, so if they can find any mammalian bees , they can have them.
     
  16. Lburou

    Lburou Member

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    Can you write an article for your local newspaper? Worked well here, public and paper(s) have been positive. Our local bee club had a booth for our town's celebration of Statehood, 600 people stopped to see observation hive (well received) -someone brought a demonstration hive with honey in it......Robber bees came in the hundreds but did not bother (sting) anyone. :)
     
  17. RE Jones

    RE Jones New Member

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    Riverbee, I know you are not in Florida, but the state just passed a law down here last year about bees. Our counties and towns can no longer set rules and regulations concerning bees, the state has the final say.
    There is a small town just east of me that has a ordinance on the books saying that you can not keep bees in the city limits, the state has straightened them out and there are several people that are now keeping bees in the city limits.
    You might want to check and see if your state has some law on the books concerning this.

    Robert
     
  18. Jacobs

    Jacobs New Member

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    In North Carolina, we are very fortunate to have active and involved apiary inspectors and the support of North Carolina State's apicultural science program. I know our chief inspector, Don Hopkins, takes an interest in bee ordinances and is willing to help local governments understand what makes sense and what does not. I also know that Dr. Ambrose has appeared before city councils in the past when they were considering bee bans.

    Do you have resources something like that who might be willing to have some input?

    Not immediately helpful, but members of the Guilford Beekeepers are frequent speakers/presenters at city schools, church groups, retirement groups, garden clubs, etc. We also have speakers from other related groups speak to our club--not just bee subjects. For our next meeting, we have asked to have a speaker from Greensboro Beautiful, the non-profit volunteer group that works closely with the City to maintain parks, plant trees, and has a large input on what gets planted where in City spaces. We are always looking for ways to let people know we are here, what benefit bees do for them, even in the City, and hopefully build alliances that will prevent future problems for beekeepers in the City.

    I know this is a bit long, but think about who might be with you--garden clubs, bird watching organizations, 4H. . . When we were looking at modifications to the city bee/chicken ordinance for Greensboro in 2008, I attended all public meetings in the process and met with the planning department people involved. I drafted ordinance language and had a back and forth with the planners. We as a group attended the City Council meeting, spoke, and got an amendment to the proposed Ordinance that we wanted. In all of our dealings with City officials, I found them to be concerned people who were willing to learn. I always treated them with respect and presented factual information. I worked under the assumption that they had done their research and that if I fudged on an answer, that would hurt our credibility.
     
  19. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

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    I cannot beleive how poorly this was written.
    " including birds, bats, bees, wasps, moths, squirrels, mice and rats"

    That is just a partial list of animals they define as Rodents.

    Then they go on to say.
    "
    All structures and exterior property shall be kept free from rodent harborage and infestation. Where rodents are found, they shall be promptly exterminated by approved processes"

    Do they have any idea what they just said?

    I am serious as all gt out. I would simply start looking for every bird that lands on a city street and then call up and demand that this infestation gets delt with. Birds in trees in a park. pigeons nesting on the court house. And if they refused to rid city property of brids it woudl resutl in the city being sewed by me for discrimination. No if ands or buts about it. I have done it before. And it was over something far better written than that. But I better not find one sqirrel bird. rat mouse or moth on any public property at any time. good luck working that one out. Do you have any bridges in yoru city. I guarantee they are harboring bats under it. Street lights actualy attract moths so the city is intentionally drawing a known nuisance to the area with every street lamp. Plus this then attracts bats. In this way they are harboring both moths and bats.

    I would go lookig for wasps nests on the court house. the ordinance applies equally to every animal lsited on it. and I would demand that all be removed just as completely as my bees are. They bit off way more than they can chew.
     
  20. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    thanks robert, yes i read about florida's law last year. unfortunately this is not so up here, and there are a lot of 'legal dent's' in the current ordinance. what i want to do is educate the mayor first about honey bees and stinging insects, and then address their ordinance later. bvl is a relatively semi-rural to rural area, the guy that went in front of the council, i am familiar with where he lives. he could keep bees in this area if it weren't for the phobia of the council and the mayor, and also education of any of his neighbors. keeping bees in bvl has never come up before, so want to educate them first before i start poking holes in the ordinance with a legal attitude so they are not scrambling or passing ordinances to totally ban it......so some strategy and maneuvering.....

    daniel, i hear ya', it was written poorly. perhaps i can get it turned around but this will take time....diplomacy....and as jacobs pointed out: " City officials, I found them to be concerned people who were willing to learn. I always treated them with respect and presented factual information. I worked under the assumption that they had done their research and that if I fudged on an answer, that would hurt our credibility. " i would echo that, especially the respect, facts, crediblity, and also my experience to offer as a beekeeper, and an allergic beekeeper at that.

    thanks jacobs, some excellent suggestions, i appreciate it. i do have some resources available to start, dr. marla spivak for one, and the minnesota hobby beekeeper's association who were instrumental in getting beekeeping 'unbanned' in the cities of minneapolis and st. paul. i have no affiliation with them, but a phone call would most likely get me their support. here is the model ordinance they prepared:

    model beekeeping ordinance

    and this is the ordinance for the city of minneapolis:
    minneapolis beekeeping ordinance

    in some ways it is restrictive, but understandable. among many requirements, they require the keep to take a course in beekeeping, which i think is a good idea for city beekeepers in a densely populated area.

    what i think is first and foremost in order, is to simply make an appointment with the mayor, and have a conversation with her, get her thoughts, where they are coming from, and answer questions etc... with a jar of honey in hand. She is very open minded, a good listener, easy to engage in conversation with, a person of action, and i might add, an influential advocate to have on one's side as well.

    thanks for all the input here, i greatly appreciate it and also invite any other thoughts.