What would you do if the city said no more bees?

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by milapostol, Feb 8, 2011.

  1. milapostol

    milapostol New Member

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    I'd been thinking about this lately, and was thinking of what advice I'd give to a beekeeper who also encounters this problem.

    Last year, we got an official letter telling us to limit the number of hives and the height of the hives. Of course, I got all up in arms because we had asked the city 3 years hence about city's bee ordinances which we never got a reply to. Turns out they only sent a letter because someone complained, and they had no ordinance, but felt like they had better write one up.

    We talked to these people who were at first defensive, but when we really listened, they reluctantly signed off permission. We bring them honey and greet them whenever we see them now.

    We also talked to the city in an very calm manner, and they admitted their omission and we offered to be on call if they ever had any questions. We also got our beekeeping teaching involved with the city to help them write their regulations.

    I realize our situation turned out well, but if you think there's something else that might be helpful, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Thanks!
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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  3. milapostol

    milapostol New Member

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    Wow, that's great to know. I've always enjoyed Kim's editorial page in Bee Culture. I'm sure he's quite persuasive. Our beekeeping teacher, Serge Labesque, was very helpful with our situation too.
     
  4. Bens-Bees

    Bens-Bees New Member

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    Or... if you want to take the low-road and antagonize the situation, bring a boomer hive to city hall and beat on the side of it with a stick until they repeal any beekeeping ordinances... lol

    I'm just kidding about that by the way, don't do it.
     
  5. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    take a big hand full of drones to the town meeting and tell them you only raised bees that did not sting. Open the box and stick your hand into them just to prove it.
     
  6. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    I kept bees in my back yard for a couple years when a neighbor finally noticed I had them and complained to the city. I first got a letter saying I was in violation of the cities viscious animal ordinance which stated I could not have any anything that would attack unprovoked. I talked with the city attorney he dropped it 2 months later I got a 2nd letter telling me I could keep the bees but had to contain them to my property. The city changed the law to state it was illegal to allow a dog or bee to run at large. (seriously I didnt know they had changed the law until the new police chief pointed it out to me) So In response I told them I put collars on all my bees if they find a bee with a collar on off my property it was mine. I went and talked to the neighbor complaining gave him a jar of honey and talked with him. All is good and our small town has a running joke about me putting collars on bees
     
  7. milapostol

    milapostol New Member

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    Bens-Bees and G3: :D

    riverrat: Yes, it's always in response to a neighbor's complaint. We had bees for two years and no one cared. Then the city has to hurriedly throw together nonsensical ordinance to mollify the complainers.

    I have always found humor and good will does wonders in tense situations like these.
     
  8. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Rat, that reminds me when my uncle (Homer) and me were fishing on our river bank and a game warden(coming down river) run his boat over to us and ask my uncle for his fishing lic. Homer said he didn't need one we own the property.Warden ask, do you own bouth sides of the river.Homer said no, warden said by law you only own to the middle of the river and it looks like your fishing over the middle.Homer thought for a minute,then said to the warden well i might be, but don't know for sure, so while your out there would you mind drawing a line in the middle of the river so we'll know which side is ours. :mrgreen: The warden gave a discusted look and left. :lol: Jack
     
  9. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Sorry that was off topic, but it shows that some laws are hard to prove. Jack
     
  10. Jacobs

    Jacobs New Member

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    My suggestion for beekeepers is to check your deed if you are in a subdivision. Restrictive covenants or neighborhood associations can be serious stumbling blocks to keeping bees in North Carolina. Then check you local city or county ordinances. Many are online at Municode and can be reviewed free of charge.

    In 2008 in Greensboro we had someone keeping chickens and bees in the city in violation of our city ordinance. The Guilford County Beekeepers Association got involved in the process and we attended meetings with the Board of Adjustment and the Zoning Board. The fellow could not keep bees or chickens under the then ordinance and was determined to ask for a change.

    We met with the city planners and answered questions and exchanged drafts of proposed/suggested changes. They were interested and receptive and gave us more time than I imagined they would. Still there was a problematic provision in the amendment the planning supervisor suggested. We attended the City Council meeting where the amended ordinance was presented and requested an amendment to change the provision. Council did this and passed an ordinance that made Greensboro more bee friendly. Members of the GCBA attended these meetings to show interest/support.

    If you have a problematic ordinance or a general nuisance ordinance that may be interpreted to be problematic, I would suggest that your local beekeeping association form a committee to be prepared to get involved and work to provide a bee friendly ordinance draft to officials IF the issue arises. In North Carolina we can call upon our State inspectors to attend meetings/meet with officials to provide accurate information in the drafting process.

    Our association tries never to decline an invitation to give a bee presentation to a retirement community, school, garden club, church, etc. We want to educate people about honey bees and make friends for the bees. Iddee has me coming to his county association in a few months to give a presentation on Building Alliances/Ideas for Bee Presentations. The more people we have giving good presentations to the public, the better our chances to get bee friendly actions from our local officials if they are determined to act in this area.
     
  11. srvfantexasflood

    srvfantexasflood New Member

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    Before establishing any hive on my property, I first talked to my spouse to get his opinion. I then called the city to verify the city ordinances. We don't live in a subdivision, so that was not a concern. I then personally talked to every neighbor within a stones throw from my house. Only one neighbor was apprehensive, most were enthusiastic and one was excited about getting her fruit trees pollinated. A jar of honey as Christmas time keeps everyone happy.
    For my way of thinking, if there is a turnover in the neighborhood, I will be grandfathered in.
    My lot is open and visible from all sides. One border is adjacent to a city park. Sometimes I get questions from the curious about the hive, but most think it's cool.
     
  12. Zulu

    Zulu Member

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    Based on where I live now I would move my hives across the road to the neighbors farm, which is classified agricultural - nothing they can do then :lol:

    If I lived elsewhere I would embark on an education session to councilors and city hall and send a few copies of the book Fruitless Fall to key members.
     
  13. milapostol

    milapostol New Member

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    Actually, I thought it was on topic cause your uncle used humor and unarguable logic to get out of a shouting match/power struggle.

    Everyone, those are all great suggestions. I was once at a gardening class and the teacher was also a beek. Well, some of the students expressed some hesitation about sitting out there with bees saying they had been stung when they were younger and the teacher asked if they were sure it was bees, and not hornets or wasps. So sometimes these neighbor's fears aren't always justified. None of our neighbors that we know of have ever gotten stung since we've had our bees.

    The idea of getting a local beek association involved, awesome...I know that I would feel more secure with like-minded souls sharing with my dilemma, and to have all those bee-friendly minds working on the legislation, even better.