Bee Laws

beeYou probably have already broken the law!

There are many outlaws out there and bee keepers are among them!  Many bee keepers probably don’t even know there are laws on the books prohibiting bee keeping in their own town!  You wouldn’t think being a back yard bee keeper would that much restricted but in many communities, it is easier to drive a nuclear warhead through your neighborhood but transporting bees or worse yet, having a hive in your back yard is serious illegal business!

Not only it is most illegal to have bee hives.. it often illegal to even ALLOW a natural bee hive to exist in a tree on your property!

So here are some local bee ordinances for the San Francisco Bay Area that you may find interesting.  Can you find your city ordinance?

Better yet, can you create a better ordinance that what the cities around us has written into law?


6.20.060   Bees.
   (a)   Except in the agricultural zone or open space declared area, no person shall keep or maintain in the city any hive of bees without the written consent of the adjacent neighbors who reside there, whether owners or tenants. Any person who keeps or maintains any hive of bees shall also comply with the following conditions:
   (1)   Except in the agricultural zone or the open space declared area, no more than two hives can be maintained on any one lot or parcel of land.
   (2)   No hive shall be kept or maintained within twenty-five feet of any property line of the lot or parcel of land upon which it is situated.
   (3)   “Front property line,” for the purpose of subsection (a)(2) of this section, is defined as the sidewalk boundary farthest from the street.

SEC. 5.44. – Notice required when moving apiaries.

 

  • No apiary shall be moved into the city or within the confines of the city without notice in writing being given to the administrator within five (5) days from the date movement is begun, stating:

    (a)

    The number of colonies of bees to be moved into or within the city;

    (b)

    The location of the property in the city to which bees are to be moved, and the name and address of the owner of the property or person in possession thereof;

    (c)

    The distance of the proposed location of the apiary from the nearest public road intersection.

    (Ord. No. 4.14, § 1, 4/8/14.)

  • SEC. 5.45. – Natural hives—Notice.

  • Property owners or occupants thereof in the city shall give immediate notice to the administrator of the establishment by bees of natural hives, so that the same shall be removed in accordance with approved methods and to avoid harm to persons and property.

    (Ord. No. 4.14, § 1, 4/8/14.)

  • SEC. 5.46. – Location of apiary.

  • No apiary shall be located:

    (a)

    At a distance less than ten (10) feet from the property line, in side and rear yards only, unless the owner or persons in possession of the adjacent property have given written permission to the location of such apiary at a closer distance;

    (b)

    On any lands without the written consent of the owner or person in possession thereof;

    (c)

    Closer than twenty (20) feet from any public road.

    (Ord. No. 4.14, § 1, 4/8/14.)

  • SEC. 5.47. – Water supply.

  • A water supply adequate in quantity for the apiary should be provided and maintained.

    (Ord. No. 4.14, § 1, 4/8/14.)

  • SEC. 5.48. – Identification of premises.

  • Every person maintaining any apiary on premises other than their own residence shall identify the apiary by affixing and maintaining signs thereto showing the name of the owner or person in possession of the apiary, the owner or person’s address and telephone number or a statement that the owner or person has no phone. These signs shall be prominently placed and maintained on each entrance side of the apiary and immediately adjoining the same and lettered in black at least one (1) inch in height on a white or light background.

    (Ord. No. 4.14, § 1, 4/8/14.)

  • SEC. 5.49. – Notice, correction of violation.

 

Any person transporting or maintaining an apiary who violates any of the provisions of this chapter may be given verbal or written notice by the administrator or any law enforcement officer. A written notice shall also be posted on the location for forty-eight (48) hours, and it is unlawful for the owner or person in possession of such apiary to fail to correct the violations within that period. The provisions of this article, however, shall not authorize the keeping of bees in areas where they are not otherwise allowed by law.

(Ord. No. 4.14, § 1, 4/8/14.)


A maximum of one honey bee hive shall be allowed for each five thousand (5,000) square feet of lot area; provided, however, neighbors and passersby shall be protected from flyways, and a water supply adequate in quantity shall be provided and maintained on the site.


Article 8. Beekeeping

6-1.801 Definitions.

For the purposes of this article, unless otherwise apparent from the context, certain words and phrases used in this article are defined as follows:

Apiary means bees, hives and appliances wherever the same are kept, located or found.          Bees mean honey-producing insects of the special Apis mellifera, including the adults, eggs, larvae, pupae or other immature states thereof, together with such materials as are deposited into hives by their adults, except honey and rendered beeswax.

Hives mean any receptacle or container made or prepared for the use of bees, or a box or similar container of which bees have taken possession.

Location means any premises upon which an apiary is located. (§ 1, Ord. 367, eff. January 14, 1994)

 

6-1.805 Notice required when moving apiaries.

No apiary shall be moved into the Town or within the confines of the Town without notice in writing being given to the Town’s City Manager within five (5) days from the date movement is begun, stating:

(a)    The number of colonies of bees to be moved into or within the Town.

(b)    The location of the property in the Town to which bees are to be moved, and the name and address of the owner of the property or person in possession thereof.

(c)    The distance of the proposed location of the apiary from the nearest public road intersection. (§ 1, Ord. 367, eff. January 14, 1994)

 

6-1.806 Location of apiary.

No apiary shall be located:

(a)    At a distance less than one thousand (1,000) feet from the nearest residence, church, school, public building, swimming pool, corral, or water area in a corral unless the owner or persons in possession thereof gives written permission to the location of said apiary at a closer distance.

(b)    On any lands without the written consent of the owner or person in possession thereof.

(c)    Closer than three hundred (300) feet from any public road. Provided that, if the Town’s City Manager receives a complaint from any resident about the proximity of bees from an apiary, the Town’s City Manager may require the apiary to be relocated. (§ 1, Ord. 367, eff. January 14, 1994)

 

6-1.807 Water supply.

A water supply adequate in quantity for the apiary must be provided and maintained. (§ 1, Ord. 367, eff. January 14, 1994)

 

6-1.808 Identification of premises.

Every person maintaining any apiary on premises other than that of his or her residence shall identify such apiary by affixing and maintaining a sign thereto showing the name of the owner or person in possession of the apiary, his or her address and telephone number, or a statement that he or she has no phone. Said sign shall be prominently placed and maintained on the entrance side of the apiary and immediately adjoining the same and lettered in black at least one inch in height on a white or light background. (§ 1, Ord. 367, eff. January 14, 1994)


7.60.500 – Wild swarms of bees prohibited.

 

  • It is unlawful for any person to keep, maintain, or allow remaining on any lot or parcel, which such person owns or resides, any wild swarm of bees.

    (Ord. 28079.)

  • 7.60.510 – Permit required for beekeeping.

  • It is unlawful for any person to keep or maintain any hive of bees on any lot or parcel within the city without first obtaining a permit in accordance with this part.

    (Ord. 28079.)

  • 7.60.520 – Compliance required.

  • It is unlawful for any person to keep or maintain any hive of bees on any lot or parcel within the city in violation of this part.

    (Ord. 28079.)

  • 7.60.530 – Beekeeping permit – Period of validity.

  • A.

    A permit may be issued by the administrator, for uses specified by this part, where such use meets criteria for assuring that the use does not create such potential impact on residents of properties adjoining lots or parcels upon which beehives are maintained.

    B.

    A permit may be granted by the administrator only if all of the criteria for the use specified in this part are met. The criteria for a permit for such use are set forth in Sections 7.60.530, 7.60.550, 7.60.560 and 7.60.570.

    C.

    The permit is valid for a period of twelve (12) months from the date of issuance.

    (Ord. 28079.)

  • 7.60.540 – Application requirements.

  • A written application for a permit under this part must be filed with the administrator on the form provided by the administrator. The application must be signed by an owner or lawful tenant of the lot or parcel for which the application is submitted.

    (Ord. 28079.)

  • 7.60.550 – Fees.

  • Fees for the permit must be set forth in the schedule of fees adopted by resolution of the city council. No application may be accepted as complete until all fees so imposed have been paid.

    (Ord. 28079.)

  • 7.60.560 – Permits not transferable.

  • The permit may not be sold, assigned or transferred, and may cover only the premises designated and the person to whom the permit was originally issued.

  • 7.60.570 – Criteria for approval.

  • The applicant must declare under penalty of perjury that the location for the beehive(s) sought is and at all times will be maintained in conformity to each and every one of the following criteria:

    A.

    No more than two (2) hives may be maintained on any lot or parcel.

    B.

    The owner’s name, address, and location of all such hives must be registered with the office of the Santa Clara County Agriculture Commission.

    C.

    No hive may be kept or maintained within ten (10) feet of any side property line on the lot or parcel upon which such hives are situate, or within fifty (50) feet of any dwelling unit other than that occupied by the person maintaining the hive or hives.

    D.

    No hive may be kept or maintained within any required front or side setbacks.

    E.

    All hives must be oriented so that their entrances face a house or building on the premises and must be surrounded by a solid fence not less than six (6) feet in height, located no farther than thirty (30) feet from such hives. Said fence may be open on that side facing a house or building on the premises. This condition may be met by locating such hives upon or affixed to a building or structure so that their entrances are more than ten (10) feet from the ground and face a house or building on the premises.

    F.

    A constant water supply adequate to the needs of all hives located on the premises must be maintained on those premises.

    (Ord. 28079.)

  • 7.60.580 – Beehives situate in the OS Open Space, A Agricultural, Industrial, Manufacturing Districts and PD Districts.

  • Notwithstanding the provisions of Sections 7.60.510 and 7.60.570, beehives may be kept or maintained without the issuance of a permit on lots or parcels situate in the OS, A agricultural, industrial, manufacturing districts and PD districts zoned for such uses (excluding, however, such lots or parcels being used for residential or commercial legal nonconforming uses) provided such beehives are situate more than one hundred fifty (150) feet from any dwelling unit, excluding the dwelling unit on the lot or parcel whereon such hives are situate, and at least one hundred (100) feet from any public street or roadway or public access. The requirements of Section 7.60.570 B., D., and F. apply.

    (Ord. 28079.)

  • 7.60.590 – Exceptions.

  • The city council finds that the maintenance of beehives within the city not in compliance with the regulations contained in Sections 7.60.510, 7.60.570 and 7.60.580 constitute a public nuisance. The regulations contained in said Sections are adopted for the general welfare of the residents of the city. The regulations are primarily adopted for the purpose of enhancing the welfare of residents of properties adjoining lots or parcels upon which beehives are maintained and such persons are found to be specifically affected by the maintenance of such beehives. Therefore, the requirements of Subsection C. of Section 7.60.570 or the distance restriction set forth in Section 7.60.580 are not applicable if the person desiring to maintain the hive, or hives, files with the administrator the written consent of the residents of the adjoining properties and dwelling units from which the distance limitations contained in Subsection C. of Section 7.60.570 and Section 7.60.580 are to be measured. Such written consent may be revoked by the grantor or successor resident following at least thirty (30) days written notice to the person in control of such hive or hives, and by filing a copy thereof with the administrator.

    (Ord. 28079.)

  • 7.60.600 – Denial or revocation of the permit.

  • The administrator may deny or revoke a permit issued pursuant to this part in any of the following situations:

    A.

    The administrator has determined by inspection of the premises where the hive or hives are maintained that the applicant cannot comply with the requirements of this part, the title, or applicable state law, or the permit holder is in violation of the permit conditions.

    B.

    The administrator has reason to believe that the applicant or permit holder has willfully withheld or falsified any information required for a permit.

    (Ord. 28079.)

  • 7.60.610 – Permit denial or revocation hearing notice.

  • If the administrator seeks to deny the application or revoke the permit, the administrator must send the applicant or permit holder a notice of intent to deny or revoke, which must state the following:

    1.

    The reasons for the denial or revocation;

    2.

    That the applicant or permit holder must remove all hives from the premises covered by the permit or permit application, within ten (10) business days after service of the notice of intent to deny or revoke. Service may be personally or by first-class mail, postage prepaid;

    3.

    That the applicant or permit holder may appeal the intended decision by requesting a hearing in writing;

    4.

    That the request for a hearing must be received by the administrator within five (5) business days after service of such notice if he or she wishes to challenge the denial or revocation. Service may be personally or by first-class mail, postage prepaid;

    5.

    If the written appeal to the hearing officer is made, the applicant or permit holder may maintain the hive or hives on the premises if the maintenance of the hive or hives on the premises pending the hearing will not unreasonably impact the public health and safety of the neighboring community;

    6.

    That the failure to request a hearing within the time specified may result in the seizure of the hive or hives; and

    7.

    That the failure to appeal the administrator’s intended decision terminates the applicant or permit holder’s right to a hearing.

    (Ord. 28079.)

  • 7.60.620 – Permit denial or revocation hearing procedure.

  • A.

    Upon receipt of a request for a permit denial or revocation hearing, the hearing officer must set the date, time, and place for the hearing. The hearing officer must cause notice of the hearing to be mailed to the person requesting a hearing at least five (5) business days before the date of the hearing.

    B.

    At the hearing, the applicant or permit holder and the administrator may be represented by counsel, may present evidence, and may cross-examine witnesses. Strict rules of evidence do not apply. Any relevant evidence may be admitted if it is the sort of evidence on which responsible persons are accustomed to rely in the conduct of serious affairs.

    C.

    Any witness appearing may present evidence.

    D.

    The hearing officer may also cause notice to be sent to the owners of each property within three hundred (300) feet of the property designated in the permit or permit application. This notice must state:

    1.

    The date, time, location, and nature of the hearing;

    2.

    The reasons for the denial or revocation; and

    3.

    That the parties notified have a right to present any relevant evidence with regard to the denial or revocation of the permit.

    (Ord. 28079.)

  • 7.60.630 – Permit denial or revocation hearing decision.

  • A.

    The decision of the hearing officer is final. Any appeal of the final administrative decision must be pursuant to Section 1.16.010.

    B.

    The hearing officer’s decision must be supported by evidence on the record.

    C.

    If the hearing officer upholds the decision to deny the permit application or revoke the permit, then the hearing officer may direct that the owner and the person with a right to control the hive or hives remove all hive or hives from the premises covered by the permit or permit application within ten (10) business days after service of the decision. Service may be personally or by first-class mail, postage prepaid.

    (Ord. 28079.)

  • 7.60.640 – No new permit after denial or revocation.

 

If a permit has been denied or revoked, the administrator may not accept a new permit application from the same person for the same activity at the same location during the six-month period after such denial or revocation, unless the applicant shows, and the administrator finds by inspection and/or investigation, that the grounds upon which the previous application was denied or the permit revoked no longer exist.

(Ord. 28079.)


 

Sections:
8.32.010
Supplementary to existing laws.
8.32.020
Order for abatement.
8.32.030
Reasonable time for abatement.
8.32.040
Assistance by agricultural commissioner.
8.32.050
Enforcement of order.
8.32.060
Recovery of
costs.
8.32.010 Supplementary to existing laws
. The
provisions of this chapter shall be construed to
Supplement the provision of Division 13
(commencing with Section 29001) of the Food and
Agriculture Code relating to bee management.
(Ord. 1406 § 1 (p
art), 1985).
8.32.020 Order for abatement.
If any person
locates an apiary in a manner resulting in a public
nuisance, as defined in Civil Code Sections 3479
and 3480. the agricultural commissioner shall order
the nuisance abated within a reasonable tim
e.
(Ord. 1406 § 1 (part), 1985).
8.32.030 Reasonable time for abatement.
In
determining a reasonable time in which abatement
must be accomplished, the agricultural
commissioner shall consider the degree of the
nuisance, the magnitude of the risk to pub
lic health
and safety and the extent to which relocation of the
apiary would correct the problem. The abatement
order may include orders for interim measures such
as relocation, providing water for the bees,
providing a barrier, natural or otherwise. to c
hange
the flight path for the bees or destruction. (Ord.
1406 § 1 (part), 1985).
8.32.040 Assistance by agricultural
commissioner.
Whenever possible, the agricultural
commissioner shall meet with the person subject to
the abatement order and shall atte
mpt to assist
such person in complying with the abatement order.
(Ord. 1406 § 1 (part), 1985).
8.32.050 Enforcement of order.
If the abatement
order is not complied with, the
agricultural commissioner may abate the nuisance
by the most expedient means
available at the cost
of the person subject to the abatement order. (Ord.
1406 § 1 (part), 1985).
8.32.060
Recovery of costs.
All costs incurred by
the agricultural commissioner in the enforcement of
his/her order shall be recovered by the agricultura

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