City adopts beekeeping ordinance

By Dave Fidlin


Beekeeping hobbyists throughout Whitewater have reason to buzz with enthusiasm, following a recent decision by city officials.

After hearing a pitch on the virtues of so-called urban beekeeping by resident Peter Underwood, the Common Council on Feb. 18 voted unanimously in favor of adopting an ordinance pertaining to the practice.

Underwood, an avid bee-keeping hobbyist and honeybee educator, has been practicing it at his home for the past decade. While no complaints have ever occurred, Underwood implored city officials to adopt an ordinance so the process is formalized.

Prior to bringing a proposed ordinance to the full Common Council, City Planner Chris Munz-Pritchard hashed over some of the provisions with the appointed Plan and Architectural Review Commission, where there was widespread support.

Since Whitewater’s city limits are in an urban setting, the number of colonies beekeepers can have on a property has been set at three. For residents living on one or more acres, the threshold is upped to no more than five colonies.

In addition to setting a limit on the number of permissible colonies, the ordinance delves into several safety-aimed specifics, including water sources for the insects, what types of barriers must be in place and where the hives can be installed on a property.

One such provision in the ordinance states no hives can be placed within 5 feet of a property owner’s lot line. A variety of screening and shielding devices are permissible, including slatted fences and flyway barriers.

The council in their vote agreed to waive a second reading of the ordinance, meaning the document is now legally binding in the city.

Comments are closed.