YOu should all be pleased to know that in Prince William County, Virginia, (less than 1 hour West of D.C.) we won our downzoning text amendment for beehives last night, at the 11th hour. Hopefully NYC can be the next victory
Congratulations to all those many members and beekeepers in our club who've fought so hard, & for so long (clearly over a year!) to educate our county executive leadership on the benefits of honeybees and their ability to be kept safely. By a vote of 4 yea vs. 2 nay, Prince William County Zoning for Beekeeping was amended to read:
The keeping of honeybees in four (4) beehives or less shall be permitted as an accessory use to a residential principal use on any lot. On any lot of 10,000 square feet in size or larger, more than four (4) beehives may be kept, provided there is an additional lot area of 2500 square feet for each hive. In all instances, there shall be one (1) adequate and accessible water source provided on site and located within fifty (50) feet of the beehive(s). In addition, if the landing platform of a hive faces and is within ten (10) feet of any lot line, there shall be a flight path barrier, consisting of a fence, structure or plantings not less than six (6) feet in height, located in front of the hive.
It is vital to understand what this means in plain English. Effective immediately, you may keep as many as 4 individual hives on any size lot up to 10,000 square feet within the County's jurisdiction, HOA restrictions notwithstanding. For every additional 2,500 square feet you may keep 1 more hive in addition to the 4 permitted on 10K square feet.
Please note, there are added restrictions with these new liberties:
1) You must have a water source for your bees within 50 feet of your hives
2) If your hive entrance is within 10 feet of your neighbor's property line, you must erect a physical barrier not less than 6 feet tall to force the bees' flight path up and out of the way of passersby.
These restrictions are identical to zoning laws in Fairfax County, who has not seen any incidents in the past 25 years with these codes as written.