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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,

My wife and I were hoping to be picking up 2 Nucs in a couple of weeks, but we were just notified that our permit from the City of Sturgeon Bay, WI is being contested. To set the stage, we live in a "nice" neighborhood where lawns are heavily fertilized and sprayed and the mulch is piled 8" up the tree trunks - we bought our house last summer and have spent a good portion of our time ripping up sod and planting natives. Up until this point, our biggest issue in the neighborhood were the plethora of rabbits.

Evidently our neighbor to the south, with a massive house along the canal, has cited allergies, general nuisance, attraction of predators, and "everything in the book against bees" according to the government official we spoke with. We get to be the guinea pigs, as there has never been someone to fight a permit and have it go to a hearing. In our permit we showed location of the potential hives - over 30' from property line with 50' of woods between our respective yards, along with having a nearby water source. We will be installing a perimeter fence, though the portion in the woods was going to be chickenwire (for the upcoming flock, can't wait for that fight).

Luckily we were able to get a refund on the Nucs, but we're very disappointed our beekeeping days are at least a year out and would be devastated if we couldn't...

So this is my request to the Beesource hivemind: Do you have advice for contesting these arguments against beekeeping? Can you point me to any specific articles, popular or scientific that would help us in our fight to keep bees?

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Jesse & Samantha
 

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Hi All,

My wife and I were hoping to be picking up 2 Nucs in a couple of weeks, but we were just notified that our permit from the City of Sturgeon Bay, WI is being contested. To set the stage, we live in a "nice" neighborhood where lawns are heavily fertilized and sprayed and the mulch is piled 8" up the tree trunks - we bought our house last summer and have spent a good portion of our time ripping up sod and planting natives. Up until this point, our biggest issue in the neighborhood were the plethora of rabbits.

Evidently our neighbor to the south, with a massive house along the canal, has cited allergies, general nuisance, attraction of predators, and "everything in the book against bees" according to the government official we spoke with. We get to be the guinea pigs, as there has never been someone to fight a permit and have it go to a hearing. In our permit we showed location of the potential hives - over 30' from property line with 50' of woods between our respective yards, along with having a nearby water source. We will be installing a perimeter fence, though the portion in the woods was going to be chickenwire (for the upcoming flock, can't wait for that fight).

Luckily we were able to get a refund on the Nucs, but we're very disappointed our beekeeping days are at least a year out and would be devastated if we couldn't...

So this is my request to the Beesource hivemind: Do you have advice for contesting these arguments against beekeeping? Can you point me to any specific articles, popular or scientific that would help us in our fight to keep bees?

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Jesse & Samantha
Rule #1: Do not apply for a permit. Just put the bees on your property.

Rule #2: Put a fence up so your neighbors can't see.


If they do take you to court, claim hardship and that you need the honey for food and survival during the economic crisis of COVID-19.

I'd love to see my neighbors try that **** on me.

They literally can try to make me remove the bees. I have a number of other locations I could move them to if the police showed up and tried to force me to move them.

I'd LOVE for someone to take the effort into trying to force me to remove bees from my property. It'd be entertaining.

I didn't apply for a permit. I checked with my township to make sure there wasn't some sort of township rule.

Shoot first, ask questions later when it comes to bees. Put the ball in their court. Force their hand.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Can the neighbor prove that someone in the houshold is deathly allergic to bees? Can they prove they are a nuisance without them ever having been there? What predators? Is Sturgeon Bay rife with bears? Sounds like a lot of hot air by someone who knows little of the subject matter. Tell them to go to the lakeshore and pound sand.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
They will have to prove their allergy at the hearing. My wife is allergic and we have epi-pens onsite. There are zero bears in Sturgeon, less than a handful in the entire county.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Rule #1: Do not apply for a permit. Just put the bees on your property.

Rule #2: Put a fence up so your neighbors can't see.


If they do take you to court, claim hardship and that you need the honey for food and survival during the economic crisis of COVID-19.

I'd love to see my neighbors try that **** on me.

They literally can try to make me remove the bees. I have a number of other locations I could move them to if the police showed up and tried to force me to move them.

I'd LOVE for someone to take the effort into trying to force me to remove bees from my property. It'd be entertaining.

I didn't apply for a permit. I checked with my township to make sure there wasn't some sort of township rule.

Shoot first, ask questions later when it comes to bees. Put the ball in their court. Force their hand.
HA! This was the route I was going to go, but my wife works for county government...
 

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Check to see what ordinances apply.
Comply by the ones on the books, or get a variance.

What the neighbor "wants" is not in the rule book.

If you have an HOA then , bad news, one more layer of someone telling you what to do.

No HOA, it is what ever that township/city allows.

BTW do put up a trail cam, irrational odd folks sometimes take matters into their our hands, do not rule out sabotage.

Maybe put the "empty hives" out now and say yea the bees are here, see what shakes loose. they will claim to have been harmed by your bees and in front of someone compitant you can state the hives are empty so it cannot be your bees.

GG
 

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Check to see what ordinances apply.
Comply by the ones on the books, or get a variance.

What the neighbor "wants" is not in the rule book.

If you have an HOA then , bad news, one more layer of someone telling you what to do.

No HOA, it is what ever that township/city allows.

BTW do put up a trail cam, irrational odd folks sometimes take matters into their our hands, do not rule out sabotage.

Maybe put the "empty hives" out now and say yea the bees are here, see what shakes loose. they will claim to have been harmed by your bees and in front of someone compitant you can state the hives are empty so it cannot be your bees.

GG
This is an interesting idea.

Put several empty hives in the front of your house, where everyone can see them.
 

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With the COVID-19 situation, you are probably OK just having bees without a permit.

Put up a fence this weekend, and get your bees.

Or just get them without a fence.

Courts in my location are closed indefinitely.

I could start herding goats around my neighborhood and no one would be able to stop me :)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Is it a county rule, township rule, or a HOA rule?
City ordinance

34.14 - Keeping of bees.

(1)

Permit and fees required.

(a)

Persons that keep bees within the limits of the city must first obtain a permit from the community development department. No person shall keep, maintain, or allow to be kept any hive or other facility for the housing of honey bees on or in any property within the city limits without first obtaining a permit.

(b)

Applications for a permit to keep or maintain bees will be made on such forms as provided by the city community development department. Applicants shall provide a detailed lot diagram of the beekeeping equipment location including the distances to property lines and from nearby structures on neighboring properties. A permit fee as established by the common council shall be paid.

(c)

If the application complies with the requirements of subsection (2), the department shall send by regular mail information regarding beekeeping and the proposal to adjacent properties. This information shall include behavior of bees and location of hives on the subject property. It shall be provided to the owners and tenants of all adjacent property within 100 feet of the location of hives on the property and shall advise of the ability to object in writing to the proposed beekeeping.

(d)

If no written objection is received within 30 days of the date of the notice, the permit shall be issued. If a written objection is received, the matter shall be referred to the community protection and services committee for a hearing. After the hearing the committee may approve or deny the permit and may place any conditions deemed appropriate upon an approved permit.

(e)

Permits shall not be transferable or refundable. Only the owner of the lot upon which the hive(s) is proposed to be kept, or an occupant of the lot with the owner's written permission, is eligible to obtain a beekeeping permit. Only one beekeeping permit shall be issued per lot.

(f)

All new permits issued shall expire one year after issuance unless sooner revoked. All renewal permits shall expire three years after issuance unless sooner revoked.

(2)

Conditions for keeping and maintaining hives.

(a)

Only honey bees (hereinafter referred to collectively and individually as "bees") may be kept under this section.

(b)

Keeping of bees shall not be permitted on lots containing three or more dwelling units (multiple-family dwellings).

(c)

Approval of a permit application is subject to reasonable restrictions, limitations, conditions, or prohibitions prescribed by the city. Any approved permit shall specify any restrictions, limitations, conditions or prohibitions deemed necessary by the city to safeguard public health and the general welfare, and deemed necessary to reduce the likelihood of public or private nuisance.

(d)

Beekeeping equipment shall be restricted to rear yards and side yards. Beekeeping equipment may also be permitted on a roof provided such equipment is screened from view and is determined by the community development department to otherwise meet the setback and other requirements of this chapter.

(e)

Beekeeping equipment shall not be located closer than 25 feet from any property line, 25 feet from a street or public sidewalk, nor 25 feet from a dwelling unit on an abutting lot.

(f)

No more than two hives are allowed per lot. This maximum may be waived with approval by the community protection and services committee.

(g)

Bee colonies shall be kept in hives with removable frames, which shall be kept in sound and usable condition.

(h)

Each beekeeper shall ensure that a sufficient and convenient source of fresh water is available to the colony.

(i)

Each beekeeper shall ensure that no wax comb or other materials that might encourage robbing by other bees are left upon the grounds of the apiary lot. Such materials once removed from the site shall be handled and stored in sealed containers, or placed within a building or other insect-proof container.

(j)

Each beekeeper shall maintain beekeeping equipment in good condition and securing unused equipment from weather, potential theft or vandalism and occupancy by swarms. It shall be a violation of this section for any beekeeper's unused equipment to attract a swarm, even if the beekeeper is not intentionally keeping honey bees.

(k)

For each apiary the beekeeper shall conspicuously post a sign including the words "HONEY BEE HIVE" and his/her name clearly readable at 25 feet away. A copy of the permit shall be placed in a conspicuous place on the hive.

(l)

The city staff shall have the right to inspect any permitted beekeeping equipment at all reasonable times for any proper purpose. Where practicable, prior notice shall be given to the beekeeper.

(m)

Hives shall be actively maintained. Hives not under active human management and maintenance shall be deemed abandoned and dismantled or removed from the property by the property owner.

(n)

In any instance in which a hive exhibits unusually aggressive characteristics, it shall be the duty of the beekeeper to destroy or re-queen the hive. Queens shall be selected from stock bred for gentleness and non-swarming characteristics.

(o)

In addition to compliance with the requirements of this section, no beekeeper shall keep a hive or hives that cause any unhealthy conditions or interfere with the normal use and enjoyment of human or animal life of others, any public property or property of others.

(3)

Permit suspension/revocation. The city may suspend or revoke any permit issued pursuant to this section for violations of ordinances, laws or requirements regulating activity and for other good cause.

(4)

Appeals. Permit decisions made by the community development departments, including permit denial, suspension or revocation, may be appealed to the community protection and services committee. Permit decisions made by the community protection and services committee may be appealed to the common council.

(5)

Violation and penalty. Any person who violates this chapter or fails to obtain a permit for beekeeping shall result in the property and apiary to be deemed a public nuisance, and is subject to violations and enforcement within Chapter 11.
 

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"Maybe put the "empty hives" out now and say yea the bees are here, see what shakes loose. they will claim to have been harmed by your bees and in front of someone compitant you can state the hives are empty so it cannot be your bees."

I like that idea.Just put out an empty and let them complain all the way up until court.If they complain of your nuisance bees you can say "what bees I dont have any bees". Let them show their ignorance.Oh and put something in front of the empty hive so they cant tell if there is actually is or isnt some bees occupying the hive.An the camera are a must.I had a couple guy coming onto my property and found my 4 wheeler.They came back a second time with hands on it again and pointing like they were plotting a way to cut the chain and get it out through the woods.I put out a sign that said they were on camera and its private property and to keep your hands off of my 4 wheeler.Well they came back and stopped at the sign and turned around and left and havent been back.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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I like the idea of placing the hives and making it known they are there. See what shakes out. Wait for the neighbor to claim they have been stung by one of YOUR (nonexistant) bees (probably a yellow jacket anyhow). Be sure to have the entrances blocked off so you are not in violation of section (j).
 

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Be sure to have the entrances blocked off so you are not in violation of section (j).
I would also use something black and block it from the inside so it looks open. You could really have some fun with this Karen.

I'd probably do fake inspections too.
 

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c)

Approval of a permit application is subject to reasonable restrictions, limitations, conditions, or prohibitions prescribed by the city. Any approved permit shall specify any restrictions, limitations, conditions or prohibitions deemed necessary by the city to safeguard public health and the general welfare, and deemed necessary to reduce the likelihood of public or private nuisance.

What have the previous limitations been imposed by the city? There are no other criteria specified, but the city has to remain somewhat consistent with prior practice. Find out in advance.

Any chance you can find a spot to meet the 100 ft from that neighbor? Relocation by even a few feet shows cooperation.
 

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I like the idea of placing the hives and making it known they are there. See what shakes out. Wait for the neighbor to claim they have been stung by one of YOUR (nonexistant) bees (probably a yellow jacket anyhow). Be sure to have the entrances blocked off so you are not in violation of section (j).
Best idea, yet.
 

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If there are no openings it is not for keeping bees. It is just to see what color would look best. Blocked off empty hive body is legal.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
c)

Approval of a permit application is subject to reasonable restrictions, limitations, conditions, or prohibitions prescribed by the city. Any approved permit shall specify any restrictions, limitations, conditions or prohibitions deemed necessary by the city to safeguard public health and the general welfare, and deemed necessary to reduce the likelihood of public or private nuisance.

What have the previous limitations been imposed by the city? There are no other criteria specified, but the city has to remain somewhat consistent with prior practice. Find out in advance.

Any chance you can find a spot to meet the 100 ft from that neighbor? Relocation by even a few feet shows cooperation.
We thought of this if we are denied, the problem is the hives would be very close to our house and in the area we have surrendered to our dog...
 

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City ordinance

34.14 - Keeping of bees.

(1)

Permit and fees required.

(a)

Persons that keep bees within the limits of the city must first obtain a permit from the community development department. No person shall keep, maintain, or allow to be kept any hive or other facility for the housing of honey bees on or in any property within the city limits without first obtaining a permit.

(b)

Applications for a permit to keep or maintain bees will be made on such forms as provided by the city community development department. Applicants shall provide a detailed lot diagram of the beekeeping equipment location including the distances to property lines and from nearby structures on neighboring properties. A permit fee as established by the common council shall be paid.

(c)

If the application complies with the requirements of subsection (2), the department shall send by regular mail information regarding beekeeping and the proposal to adjacent properties. This information shall include behavior of bees and location of hives on the subject property. It shall be provided to the owners and tenants of all adjacent property within 100 feet of the location of hives on the property and shall advise of the ability to object in writing to the proposed beekeeping.

(d)

If no written objection is received within 30 days of the date of the notice, the permit shall be issued. If a written objection is received, the matter shall be referred to the community protection and services committee for a hearing. After the hearing the committee may approve or deny the permit and may place any conditions deemed appropriate upon an approved permit.

(e)

Permits shall not be transferable or refundable. Only the owner of the lot upon which the hive(s) is proposed to be kept, or an occupant of the lot with the owner's written permission, is eligible to obtain a beekeeping permit. Only one beekeeping permit shall be issued per lot.

(f)

All new permits issued shall expire one year after issuance unless sooner revoked. All renewal permits shall expire three years after issuance unless sooner revoked.

(2)

Conditions for keeping and maintaining hives.

(a)

Only honey bees (hereinafter referred to collectively and individually as "bees") may be kept under this section.

(b)

Keeping of bees shall not be permitted on lots containing three or more dwelling units (multiple-family dwellings).

(c)

Approval of a permit application is subject to reasonable restrictions, limitations, conditions, or prohibitions prescribed by the city. Any approved permit shall specify any restrictions, limitations, conditions or prohibitions deemed necessary by the city to safeguard public health and the general welfare, and deemed necessary to reduce the likelihood of public or private nuisance.

(d)

Beekeeping equipment shall be restricted to rear yards and side yards. Beekeeping equipment may also be permitted on a roof provided such equipment is screened from view and is determined by the community development department to otherwise meet the setback and other requirements of this chapter.

(e)

Beekeeping equipment shall not be located closer than 25 feet from any property line, 25 feet from a street or public sidewalk, nor 25 feet from a dwelling unit on an abutting lot.

(f)

No more than two hives are allowed per lot. This maximum may be waived with approval by the community protection and services committee.

(g)

Bee colonies shall be kept in hives with removable frames, which shall be kept in sound and usable condition.

(h)

Each beekeeper shall ensure that a sufficient and convenient source of fresh water is available to the colony.

(i)

Each beekeeper shall ensure that no wax comb or other materials that might encourage robbing by other bees are left upon the grounds of the apiary lot. Such materials once removed from the site shall be handled and stored in sealed containers, or placed within a building or other insect-proof container.

(j)

Each beekeeper shall maintain beekeeping equipment in good condition and securing unused equipment from weather, potential theft or vandalism and occupancy by swarms. It shall be a violation of this section for any beekeeper's unused equipment to attract a swarm, even if the beekeeper is not intentionally keeping honey bees.

(k)

For each apiary the beekeeper shall conspicuously post a sign including the words "HONEY BEE HIVE" and his/her name clearly readable at 25 feet away. A copy of the permit shall be placed in a conspicuous place on the hive.

(l)

The city staff shall have the right to inspect any permitted beekeeping equipment at all reasonable times for any proper purpose. Where practicable, prior notice shall be given to the beekeeper.

(m)

Hives shall be actively maintained. Hives not under active human management and maintenance shall be deemed abandoned and dismantled or removed from the property by the property owner.

(n)

In any instance in which a hive exhibits unusually aggressive characteristics, it shall be the duty of the beekeeper to destroy or re-queen the hive. Queens shall be selected from stock bred for gentleness and non-swarming characteristics.

(o)

In addition to compliance with the requirements of this section, no beekeeper shall keep a hive or hives that cause any unhealthy conditions or interfere with the normal use and enjoyment of human or animal life of others, any public property or property of others.

(3)

Permit suspension/revocation. The city may suspend or revoke any permit issued pursuant to this section for violations of ordinances, laws or requirements regulating activity and for other good cause.

(4)

Appeals. Permit decisions made by the community development departments, including permit denial, suspension or revocation, may be appealed to the community protection and services committee. Permit decisions made by the community protection and services committee may be appealed to the common council.

(5)

Violation and penalty. Any person who violates this chapter or fails to obtain a permit for beekeeping shall result in the property and apiary to be deemed a public nuisance, and is subject to violations and enforcement within Chapter 11.

Like I said in my previous posts, we are not in "normal" times anymore. Those rules were designed for keeping up with the joneses. The joneses now have COVID-19, and their kids are probably unemployed.

COVID-19 means you don't have to follow the rules about silly things like mowing the grass, maintaining your property, etc. no one is going to be able to enforce the rules other than trying to scare you.

I'd just get the bees, and then refuse to remove them. Tell them its a matter of life and death, blame COVID-19.

Your wife's position shouldn't make any difference, but it might make for a good story in the office.
 

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I'm also getting my first bees this season and live in that fertilized lawn, 8" mulch type of neighborhood you're talking about. The laws where I live are much different and kind of interesting. If the hive is within 50 ft of a property line, you need a barrier at least 5 feet high in front of the entrance (it can be artificial or a plant) and you have to provide the bees with water. I think their idea is that beeline will be above head height. Maybe bring up that idea at the hearing? I agree with the previous posters about just getting it and keeping it on the down low. With a perimeter fence, nobody's even going to see it anyway. Same with the chickens. People don't have anything to do right now and are probably just trying to pick a fight.
 

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Amazing. Pretty poor guidelines. I had the problem where I live under a general nuisance and other clause but I talked with a sane person on the HOA board and she fixed the problem. One neighbor wanted bees and the other side did not know or care that I had them. I back up to woods, 100 yards from the street and 60 yards from my house and 75 or more to the other two houses. It is one of those random fears or in this case and HOA member that did not even know the facts other than back yard and bees.

That sounds as ridiculous than Chicago's laws against honest people owning firearms. (One of the big guys in Houston talk radio used to give the weekend total of killings and deaths every Monday for Chicago.
 
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