We received this story from Tom Volkema:
For many years I kept a couple hives in my back yard in the Historic District in Holland. Then one fateful afternoon about 2 years ago, I received a letter from the city indicating that keeping of bees within the city limits was not allowed. Apparently someone had complained after confusing a yellow-jacket with a honeybee. First, the city ordinance considers bees a nuisance. Second, residential properties within the city are limited to 2 pets !!
It was sad for me as I had a very productive queen and more than 80,000 gorgeous girls working hard to fill my hives with honey.
But alas…..I had to euthanize the lot before winter.
Then I noticed that over the last few years that scores of municipalities around the country…including the bourough of Manhattan….were modifying their ordinances and easing their restrictions on residential hives.
I currently split my time between my house in Holland and my apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. It seemed to me that if I could have a hive on the top of a 34 story high-rise in New York City, then certainly I should be able to keep a couple innocuous hives in the Historic District of Holland.
About a month ago I approached Holland City Council. Since then I’ve gathered lots of examples of municipalities that have revised archaic proscriptions regarding honey bees and now working the the city Planning Commission to craft an updated ordinance that allows at least a few hives per residential property. I have not had any negative push-back so far, but could sure use some cheerleading and support from fellow bee-keepers in the area……by phone or e-mail or letter to the city. This is far from done!
Honestly, I am NOT an altruistic, tree-hugging environmentalist: my intentions are singularly self-serving. I simply love to watch my girls work and build their hive and give me honey in the fall!!!! There’s nothing more relaxing on a warm summer afternoon than to pull up a comfy chair next to a humming hive, pour a tall pitcher of cold beverages, light a big oily cigar, and read a good book while I watch the arrivals and departures of my bees laden with pollen and nectar.
Channel 13/ABC/WZZM did a piece today <Monday May 13> which is likely available on their website <note: here’s the story>
UPDATE: The Holland Planning Commission met Tues. May 14 and received information for review. Mark Vanderploeg. city planner, said that the beekeeping ordinance will likely be addressed at the next meeting Tuesday May 28 during the study session starting at 4:00 PM. The public (this means YOU, beekeepers!) is welcome to attend. Information received by the commission is available as a PDF document at the Planning Commission’s May 14 meeting site- skip to page 8 of the document.