Well there's only three of us so far, but perhaps I can get this rolling....
I currently live in a small city of 16,000 or so that has no beekeeping laws on the books. A quick online search of the city's animal regs indicated nothing specific regarding bees. HOWEVER.... an email to the city garnered a less than enthusiastic response. Imagine my disappoinment to be told by the Assistant Planning Director that "The keeping of honey bees is not allowed inside the city limits...". Since there is no specific wording against beekeeping, it falls under the blanket "any and all other species" in the "Dangerous and exotic animal section" of the code. He even cc mailed a copy of my querie and his response to the animal control officer! Great! Now the dog catcher is after my bees as well as my pooch!
I'm now thinking of ways to encourage the city council to change the animal code to allow backyard/hobby/recreational beekeeping within the city.
ready, fire, aim - start keeping them and call the news when or if they start to bug you. Also start to offer capture swarms like http://www.backwardsbeekeepers.com
They have a grass roots type of approach to helping if a hive or swarm goes nuisance on somebody in town. Another idea would be to look for the vegetarian/vegan crowd in town, they usually have pod luck dinners and such and talk up the plight of bees. They might already have some political clout in your town and maybe some interest in helping. Best of luck.
I'll be adding a hive to the back yard garden as soon as the next swarm comes to inhabit my irresistible large inverted flower pot (somewhere in south Florida).
Wow, I can't believe that you have so much trouble~we are encouraged and supported where we live! My neighbors absolutely love us, I sell every drop of honey the girls make at our neighborhood farmers market, and the Mayor herself is a loyal fan of our honey!
When we started keeping urban bees, we didn't advertise the fact. I always feel it's better to ask for forgiveness rather than permission!! My husband painted the hives to match the back of the garage(where are hives are located), to help them blend in. We then planted tomatoes and sunflowers to help hide the hives. Then, when we took off our first honey, our neighbors all got gratis jars of our summer gold! Needless to say, we have no problems. The gardens/flower beds in our neighborhood are thriving, the neighbors all love our bees, and even are planting to attract our girls.
I am in the process of doing this now , the first thing i did was voice my opinion in an open forum under new business at city councel. then i got some bee people on the agenda to educate the city councel on the importance of bees . then i got public opinion on my side by telling my neighbors and friends what I planned and the benefits of it, Lastly I emaild and had others Email our elected officials on the matter, after many public meetings with both the planning commission and city councel I am well on my way to having bees very soon.
Yes start keeping bee's. That is what you do. Any of your friends in that town do the same if they want bees. If you live in a town similar what you do is keep bees and don't tell any one. Just do it. Wait for someone to complain and see what happens.
Talk to your neighbors and educate them. I'm in the Boston area and someone in Cambridge brought bees to the roof of a synagog without talking to the neighbors and didnt manage their bees wel. This led to many swarms and eventually making a powerful enemy of a neighbor, the city is still deciding what to do as far as banning bees or not. In boston they are livestock and livestock is prohibited but their are many beekeepers. In somerville the neighbors of a hive at a comunity center made complaints claiming they where stung 15 times over the summer, then the son of the family smashed the hives. Because there was a complaint they have to file for a permit now. They had been grandfathered in because there where bees there before the law was passed. Make friends of your neighbors and then the city wont have any ammo and they are the bad guy.