Bristol passes residential bee keeping ordinance

Bee keeping in residential areas will be allowed throughout the village under a new ordinance passed by the Bristol Village Board Monday.

The ordinance passed by a 5-2 vote, with village President Mike Farrell and Trustee Ruth Atwood voting against.

Previously. bee keeping was only allowed on property zoned for agriculture. The new law sets out conditions under which bee keeping can take place in residential zonings.

The matter had been considered by the board at two pervious meetings after a resident sought to keep bees in a neighborhood. That was followed by citizen petitions being filed with the village — 169 signatures on the pro-bee keeping petition from throughout the village and 13 on the anti-bee keeping petition, which was circulated mostly in one neighborhood.

The board started with an ordinance drafted by an attorney retained by the village. They then made some changes, with most of the changes proposed by Trustee John McCabe.

One McCabe change was to drop a requirement for a permit and to have bee keeping associations troubleshoot bee keepers methods in the village.

“I don’t think we need to do permits to have bee keeping,” McCabe said.

Before the board vote, audience members again spoke in favor and in opposition to allowing bee keeping.

Farrell asked for a roll call vote on the measure instead of a voice vote.

On their yes votes:

McCabe cited the 11 weeks of information the village acquired on bee keeping.

Trustee Chris Leker also cited research saying he has spoken to experts about the issue and was impressed by the fact that some cities — such as Madison and Milwaukee — allow bee keeping in even denser situations than what commonly exist in Bristol.

Trustee Kris Kordecki said “It’s not an emotional decision; it’s based on what the honey bees do.”

On their no votes:

Trustee Ruth Atwood said she wished the resident originally seeking the ordinance didn’t live so close to a school.

Farrell said he was concerned with safety and consequently “vote with my conscience.”

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Bristol considers residential bee keeping ordinance

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