Appleton already allows beekeeping on properties zoned Public Institution and Urban Farm, and has since 2011 and 2013, respectively. Hives are currently operating under this ordinance at Lawrence University and Riverview Gardens. You can find the policy regarding the permitting process starting on page 31 of the "CPC Agenda Packet" link on this page.
Those requirements, which would likely be the starting point for any expansion to residential properties, include the following:
- Beekeeping would require a one-year, annually reviewed permit from the Health Department.
- Part of the permit process would include notification of all property owners within 200 feet. Those property owners would have 14 days to file an objection, and any objections shall be reviewed by the Board of Health and Common Council to determine if a permit should be issued.
- Before bees are allowed to be introduced to a hive, the Health Department must inspect the hives to make sure the owner does not have too many hives, the hives have removable frames, a six-foot high barrier has been constructed around hives within 30 feet of property lines, there is a minimum setback between hives and property lines (30 feet in front, 10 feet on all other sides), a supply of water is available, and all hives are at least 50 feet away from other structures unless the hive owner has written permission to have them closer.
- All hives must be actively managed, and any hives no longer being maintained must be removed.
- Bees must be selected from stock bred for "gentleness and non-swarming characteristics," and beekeepers are required to take action to destroy or re-queen any hive exhibiting aggressive or swarming behavior.
Again, these requirements are only a starting point in this conversation and could be amended to better suit the situations involved in a residential setting. But this is an example of what the permitting process could look like, should council decide to move forward.
In the meantime, it will be a few more weeks before this item is discussed again. Last night the City Plan Commission referred this item to the Board of Health, which will meet on Wednesday, July 8 at 7 am. If the Board opts to take action on the item at that point, then it would appear before the Common Council on July 15.