Troy Council considers urban beekeeping


TROY — Members of the Troy City Council are preparing to vote on proposed changes to the city’s beekeeping regulations, which would allow residents within the city limits to keep and maintain beehives on their properties.

The council’s safety and health committee discussed the proposed changes at a recent meeting held on Monday, Jan. 9. The meeting was attended by a large crowd of approximately 50 local beekeepers and residents.

“The idea of urban beekeeping is not a new concept,” Troy resident Gene Bailey said. “It’s being done all over the state of Ohio right now in many communities, large and small.”

“Vandalia was designated as Ohio’s first Bee City, U.S.A.,” Bailey said. “They have not experienced any complaints or issues or problems.”

Beehives are not currently allowed anywhere within the Troy city limits; hives are only permitted in areas zoned for agricultural use. Under the proposed regulations, which are still subject to change, a maximum of two hives would be permitted on properties 9,000-square-feet or larger in most residential areas. Africanized bees would not be permitted, and all hives would have to be registered annually with the state of Ohio, which also conducts regular inspections of beehives.

Hive owners would be required to reside on the same property where hives will be kept, and maintain flyway barriers and a source of fresh water for the bees. Hives would be permitted in rear yards only, and the city would also reserve the right to revoke beekeeping privileges if needed.

“We kind of followed what Vandalia is doing,” Council member and Safety and Health Committee Chairman Bill Twiss said. “Bees are a good thing for our community. I think if we do it the right way, it would allow those who are serious about it to maintain and raise bees if they prefer.”

The city recently conducted a study of 13 other local communities’ policies on beekeeping, and also sought input from local beekeeping organizations. The city also sought input from the Ohio State University Extension Office, which offers classes in beekeeping.

“We did follow up with the Miami Valley Beekeepers,” Twiss said. “They were all on-board.”

“At this point, I have not heard of any negative comments towards it,” he said.

During the committee meeting, several residents spoke in favor of the changes.

“I’ve been a beekeeper for about five years now,” Troy resident Beth Kerber said. “If you have any fear of bees, I just recommend educating yourself.”

“There’s just some etiquette to it,” Kerber said, “but I definitely think it should be changed from a hard no.”

The proposed regulations will now go before the council’s planning commission for review, Twiss said, before being presented for a vote by council. Depending on how long that process takes, the regulations could be ready for a vote at council’s first or second meeting in February.

Twiss said the idea for the changes originally came from local residents who reached out to council members.

“We were excited that citizens brought it to our attention,” he said. “We always appreciate our citizens coming forward and giving suggestions.”

“That’s how it started,” he said. “It really came from the citizens of Troy wanting to see if they could have beehives.”

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