Jeff council allows beekeeping in the city

The Jefferson city council at its regular meeting Tuesday approved the first reading and waived the second and third readings of an ordinance allowing beekeeping within the city limits.

The ordinance is similar to one adopted by the Scranton city council last year. It requires beekeepers to obtain a license from the city prior to setting out hives. Beekeepers must have general liability insurance of at least $300,000 to cover claims for property damage or injury. The licenses must be renewed each year.

Hives will be allowed in a front yard or within any front, side, or rear setback area. All hives must be fully enclosed by fencing with a secure gate and prominent signage that includes the beekeeper’s name and telephone number. The fencing must be at least four feet high and must be a solid wall or fence. Another fence, structure or planting not less than six feet in height must be located not less than six feet in front of each hive on the side where the bees normally enter and leave the hive. Also, beekeepers must assure the bees have a convenient water source so they don’t congregate at swimming pools, outdoor faucets, pet watering bowls or the like.

The ordinance requires each beekeeper to provide written notice to owners and occupants of adjoining properties that bees will be or are present on the property. The notice must include the name, current address, and a telephone number where the beekeeper can be reached easily.

The ordinance will go into effect after legal publication.

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