3.5 months later and here it is… tomorrow is the final reading of Port Washington’s urban beekeeping ordinance, complete with a vote.
At the last meeting, there were a few clarifications that the Aldermen had asked for, some minor changes, and I believe there have even been some last-minute changes as well just in the last few days. The Aldermen requested a draft of what is called the Neighborhood Notification Form (NNF), which a beekeeping applicant will be required to have neighbors within a set radius of their property (it appears to be 200 feet) sign off and turn in to the City. I have not seen the NNF nor the latest version of the ordinance– there is a fine line between wanting to be involved and becoming a pain in the rear end. I am trying to find a good balance.
While I am looking forward to the vote tomorrow night, I am not nearly as relieved yet as I thought I would be. Besides having to get this ordinance to pass, we will have to go into the individual licensing process. With the NNF, if more than 30% of the neighbors object, it triggers a hearing in front of the City Council. In addition, if 1 person in that area with a “demonstrable medical condition” caused by a bee sting objects, automatic hearing. There will be fees, inspections, drawings, and meetings. And even then, when we get our license (assuming we can and DO), we have to reapply annually, and if any property in that NNF radius changes hands, we have to go through the form with them as well.
Nevertheless, I have to focus on the bigger picture. Beekeeping is not a solitary hobby; it is one where a community is built rapidly and relied on frequently. In that aspect, tomorrow’s vote should be a complete victory, enabling citizens in Port Washington to be able to responsibly keep beehives on their property, helping the honeybee population, and pollination, but also helping us build a “hive” of fellow beekeepers right here in our back yard. We are excited about the possibilities that this opens up for our community!
So for now it’s one foot in front of the other, plodding along. Tomorrow night is the vote, and then we are on to the next step of this saga. Time to get our little ladies to go from felonious to law-abiding!