Battling City Hall - The RESULTS ARE IN!!
First, I wish to thank the many, many fellow beekeepers that responded with suggests, words of support and ideas for research. I was unable to take the time to respond to all of them, but I did read each and every posting and got LOTS of good ideas.
Today, I charged ahead to get results.
I have spent many, many hours researching the city and state statutes and codes for Nevada and Las Vegas. Absolutely NOTHING in any of them that would restrict or ban my keeping a couple of hives in the back yard. I found some newspaper articles about a couple of other bee keepers, one from about 10 years ago saying he was the LAST registered bee keeper in Las Vegas, and that the city had given him an extension until November to move his hives from his yard. This was from 2000 pr 2001. Another article, dated two years ago, talked about another beekeeper, in the same part of town, that loved working with his bees and how the honey was for sale at a local bakery, which just happened to be 3 blocks from me. I went over and spoke with the owner of the store, who no longer had any honey as Jeremy the beekeeper had lost his hives to mites. "But do you have any honey you want to sell??" was the response. I left my name and number and he said he would try and get in contact with Jeremy to call me. Nothing back as of today.
I also spoke with several friends here. I was involved in political work for a number of years and still have a few friends, and I also have a friend who is the editorial page editor for one of the local papers. One of my longest term friends is friends with the city councilman for this district, and he suggested I call him. He raises birds such as pheasants on his place in Utah and Rick thought he should be open minded about this.
I also decided to call the code enforcer who wrote us up. She was not in the office until yesterday, but I did speak with her, for a half hour, and got nothing but mindless twitter from her. I simply asked where in the code it said I couldn't have bees, and her response was that you just can't have them. I found out she had written up almost everyone along the street for something the same day. Yup, I did have a couple of flats on a car in the driveway, a neighbor did have two vehicles parked in her driveway for one etc etc etc. But she seems to think it was a major crime wave and all of us were guilty. I think she is just trying to justify her job. Anyway, she denied saying that she told my wife that we could keep them in a greenhouse, because "your bees could get out and do their bee things" Yes, she actually said they would be doing their bee things. I kept asking where it said I could not have them, and she kept coming up with "you can't raise kangaroos in the front yard" (I have the city code covering that) and that you couldn't store plutonium at home (I have the city and state codes covering that) but could not come up with anything covering bees other than 'you can't have them, we had a complaint, a child might get stung." She said her supervisor would call me, but of course he did not.
Today, I called my city councilman, who was somewhat charged up in his voice. He gave me a number and the name of the city attorney, and told me to tell him he told me to call and get it taken care of, and if he doesn't take care of it, call him right back. Wow! I felt good for a change. The city attorney was not in, but his assistant was, who took my info and said it should not be a problem and he would call me back. Several minutes later, he did and said my bees were fine and that he would have the head of code enforcement call me. A short time later, she did call and tell me she just had a few questions. "Where my bees housed or were they just living wild?" I assured her they were in commercial wooden industry standard hives (from Darren Orr on this forum, who I HIGHLY RECOMMEND for hive bodies and such) A pause of a few seconds and she said "You can keep your bees."
I assured her that the other few minor things were being taken care of and would be finished by Monday, and was told that she would speak with the code enforcer that wrote us up and take care of it. She wanted to make sure I had her number and name 'in case you have any further problems." Yes, I now have names and numbers to call 'just in case." And yes, I did call my city councilman back and thank him for his help as well.
Everyone here was very supportive and helpful - what a great forum! I hope to be able to spend much more time here. We all have so much to face these days, with mites, colony collapses and much more. Some don't realize how important our small friends our for our very existance. I raised my older children and they got to see our hives, and my young children and grandkids will be raised the same way. We will be putting in heirloom vegetables next year, and along with our fruit trees, will need the bees of course.
Thanx again for all your help
"I fought the law and .... I WON!"