CATCH THE BUZZ
Plymouth Township Proposes Ordinance to Limit Beekeeping
By Jim Bobb
We need your help! Please write a letter of support for our fellow beekeepers!
In Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, the Plymouth Township Council has proposed limiting beekeeping to lot sizes of more than 30,000 sq ft. Hives must be located 50’ from property lines and 75’ from any other residence. This will restrict beekeeping from 92% of the properties in the township. A requirement of a six foot high enclosure installed along the entire property line makes beekeeping financially prohibitive on the larger properties that do meet the setback requirements. The proposed ordinance is the result of safety concerns by a neighbor on the same block as a new beekeeper, who installed a pair of hives this past spring on a second story, rear deck of their house. See http://articles.philly.com/2012-04-23/news/31387310_1_bee-stings-beekeeping-bee-journal.
The safety concerns and good neighbor policies of beekeeping are addressed in the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s Best Management Practices (BMP) http://www.pastatebeekeepers.org/pdf/BestManagementPractices.pdf. Other townships in Pennsylvania, when enacting bee ordinances, have simply required beekeepers to sign the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s BMP before keeping bees. Shaler Township, home to Pennsylvania Governor Corbett, enacted such an ordinance in 2006.
Help us stop the proposed bee ordinance, or at the very least, refrain the council from passing an ordinance that all but bans beekeeping in the township. We do not want other boroughs and townships to use this ordinance as the basis for their bee ordinance.
Specifically we ask you to please email or write a letter of support for:
- Bees, bee pollination, and beekeeping
- Ordinances based on the PDA Best Management Practices
- Ordinances based on rational thought and bee science
The Montgomery County Planning Committee has already recommended that Plymouth Township not enact the proposed ordinance, but that is an advisory evaluation and not a mandate. Next, the Plymouth Township Planning Committee will meet on September 5, 2012 to review the ordinance.
What can you do? To comment on the ordinance or the value of bees and beekeeping, please write a letter or email the Plymouth Township Council. The contact addresses and more information can be found at www.saveourgardens.org.
The contact information is:
Plymouth Township Council
Plymouth Township Municipal Building
700 Belvoir Road,
Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462
Send your comments to the Plymouth Township Planning Commission:
c/o Dave Conroy, firstname.lastname@example.org
Please also forward a copy of your correspondence to SaveTheBeekeeper@gmail.com
Jim Bobb is the Chairman of the Eastern Apicultural Society of North America, representing beekeepers in states and provinces east of the Mississippi River. Within the Commonwealth, Jim has served as vice president (two years) and then president (four years) of the Pennsylvania State Beekeepers’ Association.