Grove City Record

Beekeeping dispute buzzes its way to Grove City Council

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A dispute between next-door neighbors has led Grove City to draft legislation regulating beekeeping.

Currently, Grove City has no law on the books specifically banning or regulating beekeeping.

That's one of the reasons why Shannon Arnett, a resident of Birch Bark Circle in the Quail Creek subdivision, moved to the city in 2011.

"I find it to be a great hobby," said Arnett, who estimates he has about 40,000 bees in two hives in his backyard. "It really helps the environment."

Arnett started beekeeping in April, and since then, it has been a concern for neighbor Brian Grove.

"It's a safety issue," Grove said. "I don't know that a subdivision is the best area (for beekeeping)."

While no one in his family has bee allergies, Grove said the bees have been getting all over his backyard, covering the patio furniture and making it difficult to spend time outside. A few weeks back, Grove said the bees impeded on his son's birthday party.

"It's taken away from our ability to use our property," Grove said. "We couldn't even use our deck."

Grove said he also wonders about liability issues. So far, to his knowledge only one person has been stung outside Arnett's yard -- a police officer who responded to nuisance call made by Grove, he said.

"City Council has nothing on the books they can enforce," Grove said. "We're stuck."

Eventually, Grove took his concern to City Council.

On Grove City Council's agenda for its meeting Monday, Aug. 4, is a first reading of an ordinance designed to "address the keeping of bees." Beekeeping is not banned under this proposed legislation, but certain requirements, restrictions and rules are established.

Councilman Steve Bennett, who originated the legislation, said there were calls to outright ban beekeeping.

"I didn't think that was fair," he said. "I think this (ordinance) will give enough parameters. ... Before this, we had no authority."

Among the rules are requirements that bee colonies be registered with the Ohio Department of Agriculture and that keepers have valid certification with the Department of Agriculture. The ordinance also establishes rules pertaining to location, property setback, water and maintenance.

The legislation also would authorize the city safety director to respond to complaints and to notify beekeepers to abate any nuisance within 10 days. First-time violations are minor misdemeanors, and subsequent violations are fourth degree misdemeanors. Violations will also can face immediate removal of all hives.

Arnett said he can accept regulation as long as he can still keep bees.

"I'm fine as long as we get to keep them one way or another," Arnett said.

Grove said he's fine with his neighbor having bees as long as they are kept in a safe manner with regulations in place that can be enforced.

"I do go back to moderation," Grove said. "I'm not going to tell him he can't do it."

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