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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Dallas, GA
    Posts
    37

    Default beekeeping HOA restrictions question

    All,

    I just received a letter from our HOA stating I need to remove my beehives from my back yard. This is in Georgia.

    Letter states:

    Use Restrictions: bee keeping

    Please refer to your declaration of protective covenants and design guidelines. Specifically, please see below:

    Exhibit "C" of the Recorded Declaration of Covenants, Section (2) f: noxious or offensive activities which in the Board's judgement tend to cause embarassment, discomfort, annoyance, or nuisance to others;
    Section (3) a: plants, animals, devises, or other things of any sort whose activities or existence in any way is noxious, dangerous, unsightly, unpleasant, or of a nature as may materially diminish or destroy the enjoyment of XXXX(that's the name of the subdivision).

    We need your assistance in correcting the alleged covenant violation. The purpose of this letter is to request that you take action within 10 days of the date of this letter to meet the standards outlined above.

    Please remove the bees/bee hives from your backyard.


    I know of nobody who has issue with these, in fact all the neighbors love them.

    Looking for advice on how to handle this as well as any laws in Georgia that may allow me to keep these.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Davie, Florida, USA
    Posts
    826

    Default Re: beekeeping HOA restrictions question

    warpork...I am not positive in GA, so hopefully some GA beeks will chime in, but in Florida, HOA's rules/restrictions trump the State bee laws. Hope I am wrong for you....what a bummer.

    Wonder if the neighbors would be willing to sign a petition for them to stay. Are the hives visible? Somebody had to tell the HOA if not. Maybe not EVerybody is glad to have the bees?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Posts
    312

    Default Re: beekeeping HOA restrictions question

    I would ask the board how your bees are an "embarassment, discomfort, annoyance, or nuisance to others" or "activities or existence in any way is noxious, dangerous, unsightly, unpleasant, or of a nature as may materially diminish or destroy the enjoyment"

    It would have to be a nuisance or cause discomfort ...if your neighbors don't mind, then I don't see why according to these rules, that you would have to remove them. In fact, I would get a letter signed by all your surrounding neighbors and show this to the board. I would also mention that bees (honey bees, bumble bees, wasps) existed before you brought in bees.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    1,271

    Default Re: beekeeping HOA restrictions question

    Quote Originally Posted by rniles View Post
    I would ask the board how your bees are an "embarassment, discomfort, annoyance, or nuisance to others" or "activities or existence in any way is noxious, dangerous, unsightly, unpleasant, or of a nature as may materially diminish or destroy the enjoyment"

    It would have to be a nuisance or cause discomfort ...if your neighbors don't mind, then I don't see why according to these rules, that you would have to remove them. In fact, I would get a letter signed by all your surrounding neighbors and show this to the board. I would also mention that bees (honey bees, bumble bees, wasps) existed before you brought in bees.
    he would need a letter from every resident within a 2 mile radius. it would only take one to say they are afraid of being stung by bees foraging on their lawn while the home owner is mowing to put the kibosh to it, seems if a passive appeal does not work, his options would be to get rid of the bees, or move. Just can't farm in a subdivision.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,141

    Default Re: beekeeping HOA restrictions question

    HOA rules seem to be designed to Keep out/suppress the Riff Raff. Welcome to the Riff Raff.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
    Posts
    1,170

    Default Re: beekeeping HOA restrictions question

    Quote Originally Posted by Tenbears View Post
    he would need a letter from every resident within a 2 mile radius. it would only take one to say they are afraid of being stung by bees foraging on their lawn while the home owner is mowing to put the kibosh to it, seems if a passive appeal does not work, his options would be to get rid of the bees, or move. Just can't farm in a subdivision.
    no he would just need one from every neighbor in the subdivision covered by HOA..... and unfortunately if they sent you a letter then SOMEONE has complained and the HOA has you by the short hairs, state law will not apply because it's a contract you signed in order to live there. Only way a court MIGHT protect you was if they changed it after you bought your home and you did not agree to it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,576

    Default Re: beekeeping HOA restrictions question

    > Looking for advice on how to handle this ...

    Get together with your neighbors and take over the board that governs the HOA!
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Ashburn, VA, USA
    Posts
    175

    Default Re: beekeeping HOA restrictions question

    I received a similar letter from my HOA in VA. I had to move my bees. Basically the board is in place to interpret the covenants. So if they say you're in violation well then the conversation is probably not going to go your way.

    In my case, I responded saying moving the bees was a little complicated, and asked for an extension to 30 days to correct the issue. They said OK.

    They also had a rule that said:

    Animals, livestock, poultry,reptiles, or insects of any kind, regardless of number, shall not be raised, bred or kept on any lot or in common area; except a reasonable number of orderly common household domestic pets may be kept, as long as they are not raised, bred or kept for commercial purposes.

    They added the "or insects of any kind" to the rule after my violation. I consider that my own personal rule now.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    30

    Default Re: beekeeping HOA restrictions question

    I would start with my immediate neighbors, confirm none of them are against your bees. Have them sign something to that affect. If any are against them, you've pretty much lost before you've begun. Then in a very non-confrontational manner approach the HOA president. Ask exactly how your bees are violating the covenant, and if you could erect a 2nd fence, install a water source, or anything to prevent having to move your bees or sue the HOA.

    in the end, your choices might be sue or move yourself and the bees or just the bees.

    I personally never will live in an HOA community for this sort of BS.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
    Posts
    924

    Default Re: beekeeping HOA restrictions question

    Most likely it was indeed one of your neighbors who turned you in. They tell you to your face that they don't mind bees, then turn you in to the HOA board and let them deal with what they see as a problem.

    You can come up with lots of great arguments on why the bees aren't a problem and why you should be allowed to keep them, but, unfortunately, the language "in the Board's judgement" means they pretty much can do whatever they want about the bees. Sorry to say.

    Moving into a neighborhood where a committee of busy-bodies determines how you live your life is unthinkable, to me.

    JMHO
    --shinbone
    (3rd year, 12 hives, Zone 5b, 5400 ft, 15.8" annual rainfall)

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Redmond, WA, USA
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: beekeeping HOA restrictions question

    The HOA doesn't control what goes on inside the house right? Just move the hives inside (like an observation hive). Problem solved.

    Or get enough of your neighbors to vote for a change in the CCRs.

    Or find a friend who wouldn't mind letting you keep your hives in their non HOA property and move your hives there.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
    Posts
    1,170

    Default Re: beekeeping HOA restrictions question

    If push comes to shove, and you have to move your hives, shake them out and remove the boxes and let them live in the neighbors attic LOL

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Midland, MI
    Posts
    594

    Default Re: beekeeping HOA restrictions question

    My vote is for an observation hive. I have friends that in HOAs and from what i have gathered, it is not at all an environment that is suitable for me. I hope you can get it resolved in a manner that pleases both you and the board. Hopefully, they are jsut cioncerned about them being an "eyesore" and you can simply go to observation hives...whether you observe them or not. when they are inside your walls, others are less likely to comment.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
    Posts
    1,170

    Default Re: beekeeping HOA restrictions question

    Are you allowed garden sheds? Move them wait a few weeks get a shed ( if allowed) and put the hives inside the shed with entrances to the outside pointing away from your neighbors....

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,141

    Default Re: beekeeping HOA restrictions question

    Actually you should probably just do it. You bought a house in this neighborhood for your own reasons - as did your neighbors for theirs. Sorry, they may be unreasonable busy bodies, but this is the bed you have chosen to make your home in. You could make a big stink, and fight it as long as possible, but you will probably lose - you certainly won't be able to hide keeping a hive of bees. If you try you are likely to make an of yourself and reflect badly on your peers - and probably tick off your wife in the process.

    Next time think long and hard before you buy into a community with an HOA.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
    Posts
    7,053

    Default Re: beekeeping HOA restrictions question

    Go before the board and use recent UF research to demonstrate how managed bees displace dangerous unpleasant insects like Africanized bees which Georgia does have now. If you can even hint that they will be promoting a dangerous incident by condonng Africanized bees you might have a chance.
    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...urban-settings
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Spring Tx
    Posts
    129

    Default Re: beekeeping HOA restrictions question

    HOA"s hmmm, I hate to say you have a two faced neighbor, or the HOA's busybody's neighbor hood watch person was in your yard, in which I don't think they're aloud to do without your permission. Don't know about your laws but you'll have to get signatures from all your "good" neighbors and there friends in the neighbor hood and take to HOA, I wish you all the luck, they've been known to loose a few battles, they don't win all of them. They are no mater where "to big for there britches" and have there noses in things that don't concern them or your subdivision. Most of the time the run down houses, uncared for lawns, cars, trucks and junk all over the property and people running businesses out of there house goes untouched. Go figure, just don't roll over.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Columbia, Missouri, usa
    Posts
    211

    Default Re: beekeeping HOA restrictions question

    There's nothing better than owning your own acreage !

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Orange Grove, TX
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: beekeeping HOA restrictions question

    Quote Originally Posted by Harley Craig View Post
    Are you allowed garden sheds? Move them wait a few weeks get a shed ( if allowed) and put the hives inside the shed with entrances to the outside pointing away from your neighbors....
    Exactly what I was thinking.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Bloomington, IN, USA
    Posts
    72

    Default Re: beekeeping HOA restrictions question

    I'd talk to immediate neighbors, seeking honest feedback. Is your having bees actually "bugging" anybody? I'd then weigh respect for neighbors / covenants with how much you want to keep the bees. If neighbors are supportive and it's really worth it to you, I would consult an attorney, as there may be issues such as other unenforced covenants in your neighborhood, which if they persist long enough could make the covenants unenforceable. Or the covenants may be poorly written in a way that gives you a loophole. I would have my attorney write the board for specific evidence or examples of exactly how your bees are noxious, a nuisance, etc. Sometimes, just pushing back can work. This may not be a big enough issue for the HOA that they would actually go forward with a lawsuit. But I would not disrespect the wishes of any immediate neighbors. I have neighbors disrespecting covenants (and zoning) in a major way... not fun.
    Last edited by ginkgo; 07-18-2013 at 09:21 PM.

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