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Council to consider draft beekeeping ordinance May 11

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The City Council on May 11 will consider a draft ordinance that would allow residential beekeeping in the City of Mission Viejo. 

The proposed ordinance stems from a citizen who spoke at a Council meeting last year and asked Council Members to consider adopting regulations to allow private residents to perform beekeeping activities on their single-family residential properties. Read more in this article

The City Council meets at 6 pm in the Council Chambers at 200 Civic Center, with seating available in the audience per social distancing guidelines. Meetings are also streamed live via cityofmissionviejo.org and air on Cox Channel 30 and AT&T Channel 99.

Comments

Submitted by Leslee Holt on Thu, 05/06/2021 - 6:17 pm

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As someone who is highly allergic to bee stings, I strongly oppose this ordinance. Bee keeping is better suited for rural areas, NOT a city.
Also, perhaps I misunderstood the citizen initially. I understood her to be a resident of Ladera Ranch, not MV. If this is the case, why is this young girl requesting an ordinance in Mission Viejo?
Please vote no!

Submitted by Gary Moloian on Thu, 05/06/2021 - 6:51 pm

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Having grandchildren that play in our backyard and a wife that is allergic to bee stings I would hope that you decline allowing bee keeping in our city's backyards.
Regards

Submitted by Mario on Thu, 05/06/2021 - 6:52 pm

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30 yr MV Homeowner here. Nobody is arguing the benefits of bees, but there are very good reasons for not wanting to grant permission to allow suburban residences to engage in beekeeping activity. Notwithstanding that an R-1 designation is NOT agricultural for many reasons, there are other considerations. If the city is willing to expand zoning definitions, they should only do so sparingly and when there is a demand that will benefit a much greater number of residents.

The city must consider the fact that the immediate neighbors to beekeepers will only be a few feet away from active hives. The fact is that as bees come and go, this will almost certainly create a nuisance year-round for those neighbors who will not want to deal with even small swarms of bees in their yards.

There is potential liability for the city if someone in close proximity to the hives is injured or dies of a bee-sting due to an allergic reaction. It would be hard to offer a defense that only a feral bee was to blame. Remember, civil suits have a much lower standard of proof for a verdict, so unless the city implements or requires specific beekeeping training and develops best practices for enforcement of standards (an expensive proposition to satisfy a small percentage of beekeeping residents), liability will be even greater. In addition, the city would need to develop a licensing procedure which would cost more money to establish than it would bring in.

There can be arguments made for any wide range of services, hobbies, activities or businesses which would offer benefits to the community at large, but that does not mean such activities are well suited for residential neighborhoods.
For example, a soup kitchen or charity store can also be run out of a residential home. The same argument could be made that these are essential activities for the greater good, and that people who are attracted to said homes would be no more of a problem for neighbors than bees would, yet there is no way the city would allow those activities because it is not what private residential neighborhoods are designed for.

If one were to keep a cow in their backyard for milk, an argument could be made that manure and flatulence is natural because it occurs in nature all the time. The city would not allow that either no matter how much knowledge or control the bovine owning homeowner has.

Beekeeping belongs only in agricultural zoned areas or, at best, with a zoning exception in R1 properties of a minimum of one acre.

Submitted by Susan Belson on Thu, 05/06/2021 - 7:03 pm

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I love and want to protect bees BUT I think hives are best suited to land that isn't so densely populated. At times, we've had bees take over our hummingbird feeders and be aggressive to us when we're outside. My vote is NO.

Submitted by Eric on Thu, 05/06/2021 - 7:53 pm

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That sounds wonderful. Bees are beneficial to our trees and flowers. They are good for the environment. Honey Is delicious too.

Submitted by LeeAnn Boswell on Thu, 05/06/2021 - 8:15 pm

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I am FOR beekeeping in MV. It would be wonderful for kids to keep a few hives = especially in certain elementary schools and at the MVHS agriculture area. My grand dad kept bees in his town, and he was a proponent of educating the citizenry to respect and admire these busy little creatures which are sooooo beneficial to our natural world.

Submitted by Marianne Yee on Thu, 05/06/2021 - 8:22 pm

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What "safety" measures are proposed to prevent residential bees from dispersing to adjacent neighborhood properties (and pets) and surrounding areas/slopes?

What "screening" measures are proposed for bee-keeping site(s) that would be aesthetically compatible with the neighborhood and adjacent properties?

What "maintenance" measures are proposed to keep the bee-keeping site in good condition and prevent deferred maintenance?

Submitted by kevin knill on Thu, 05/06/2021 - 8:23 pm

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To argue no on bee keeping due to an allergy - is like ignoring that cars kill- should we not request that all cars be banned.

To argue no on bee keeping because it should be restricted to rural areas is to ignore the fact the we all need bees, bees are on the decline and we all need to do our part.

To argue no on bee keeping due to ignorance on the subject is just showing your ignorance.

Submitted by April Hay on Thu, 05/06/2021 - 9:12 pm

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As a person who is highly allergic to bees, who has been a hobby beekeeper for 15 years, and who lives in Mission Viejo, I think the City Council should be listening to people who truly understand what beekeeping is, and not let those with irrational fear dominate the decision. Just because someone has a couple of beehives in their backyard, it does not mean there will be more bees in their neighbor's yard. Bees travel far and wide to collect pollen and nectar. There are already feral bees all around the city, and those bees are much more likely to have problems with aggression than the gentle Italian bees kept by a beekeeper. Beekeeping aids in calming the aggressive genes in feral bees through the mating of the beekeeper's gentle drones with feral queens. If a person is deathly allergic to bees, or anything else, they should carry an Epi-Pen like I do, and not attempt to ban backyard beekeeping which is beneficial to our area. Beekeeping is particularly well suited to a city like Mission Viejo, because in a suburban/city environment, there is a wide range of ornamental flowers blossoming year round. In rural areas, there can be a lack of beneficial blossom diversity.

Submitted by Sherri Densmore on Thu, 05/06/2021 - 9:18 pm

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Please consider the species of bees when reviewing the proposed ordinance. There is a common misconception that all bees have a stinger. Mason bees (Osmia genus) are a non-aggressive species, as they live independently from one another, and do not protect a single queen. Males do not have a stinger, and females will only sting if handled roughly. 300 mason bees can do the same pollination job as 90,000 honey bees.
Sources: The Bees in Your Backyard, by Joseph S. Wilson & Olivia Messinger Carril, Princeton University Press, 2016. "Orchard Mason Bee," 10-Minute University, Oregon State University Extension Service.

Submitted by Patricia wallburg on Thu, 05/06/2021 - 9:57 pm

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I urge a “NO” vote due to the swimming venue and so many people having to carry the pen with them in case they are stung and how much research has the city done on how it will affect people residing in various neighborhoods where they are located and I do not feel that it is appropriate for the city to pass this. Please vote NO. Thank you.
Pat Wallburg

Submitted by Amy Mandarino on Thu, 05/06/2021 - 10:32 pm

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I also would like the council to vote no. If you open up this can of worms where will it stop? Chickens, roosters, goats? This is a RESIDENTIAL area, not rural. If someone wants to keep bees so badly they should move to a more suitable location. This is an instance of the wants of one person should not dominate over the many. Please VOTE NO.

Submitted by Kristin Delcamp on Thu, 05/06/2021 - 11:00 pm

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I appreciate the Council’s consideration of beekeeping in Mission Viejo, and hope that my neighbors will be allowed to keep bees in their yards. I’m very concerned about the steep decline in bee populations, and believe that humans should do everything in their power to create safe havens where bees can flourish. This benefits our food supply, our gardens and yards, and our coastal California ecosystems.

I hope that Council will approve residents’ support of the environment by allowing local beekeeping.

Submitted by Marcella Wggoner on Fri, 05/07/2021 - 7:10 am

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There is a beekeeper in San Francisco (City Bees), who has run a thriving business keeping bees in small gardens, parks, and rooftops for many years. He sells his honey at farmers markets throughout the city. No problems.

Perhaps contact him for further comments?

Submitted by Catherine Bailey on Fri, 05/07/2021 - 7:17 am

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Bees are essential for a healthy ecosystem and we have too few bees. I have to hand pollinate my back yard tomato plants. Having more bees would help gardeners like me. Having hives managed by beekeepers would be a benefit since they can change out the Queen if necessary to keep the hive docile. If this law is drafted, it should be with the advice of expert beekeepers on how to do it safely. Quora has an informative thread on this.

Submitted by Norma McClellan on Fri, 05/07/2021 - 9:34 am

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I would like to suggest that if someone wants to raise bees, they relocate to a rural area where no one would be affected by their hobby. After bees, what's next chickens, goats, etc?

We are long time residents of Mission Viejo and we have never had a problem with our
plants being pollinated. I see nothing but problems with this idea.

There is a reason that bees have ALWAYS been kept out of populated areas and raised in rural areas.

Submitted by Ivana on Fri, 05/07/2021 - 9:54 am

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I think this is a great idea! Bees need all the help they can get right now. I think the naysayers forget that without bees, we would starve. These key pollinators are an important part of the food chain. Please give them all the support you can. Thanks!

Submitted by Susan Ford on Fri, 05/07/2021 - 5:44 pm

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I feel that this should be a no vote. Individual residents’ property are in to close proximity to one another to allow for proper safety considerations to be observed

Submitted by McBee Ken on Fri, 05/07/2021 - 6:07 pm

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I feel that bee keeping is an inappropriate activity for Mission Viejo. It is an activity which by its very nature imposes itself on neighbors.

Probably an activity better suited for more rural areas.

Submitted by Ralph on Fri, 05/07/2021 - 10:34 pm

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Next goats and chickens....
Bee keeping in a densely populated suburban area doesn’t make sense . Someone posted its legal in San Francisco. To me that’s a good reason not to allow it here. Plenty of bees already doing quite nicely without humans trying to capitalize off them. Vote no please. Let bees be bees.

Submitted by Erica Ramirez-Korzep on Sat, 05/08/2021 - 1:48 pm

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How about the city encourage planting native California plants (in city landscaping too) that encourage native pollinators?

Submitted by Jim Hayes on Sat, 05/08/2021 - 2:11 pm

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Bee keeping may be beneficial to the environment, but it practiced in Mission Viejo it should be considered a hobby. Since the activity is potentially dangerous and may be a nuisance to other residents I suggest that beekeeping be allowed by permit/license only. Proof of competency or training required for the permit/license. There should be a limited number of licenses granted and the licenses holders should not be clustered together so as to avoid specific areas becoming overwhelmed with bees.

Submitted by David Allen on Sat, 05/08/2021 - 4:33 pm

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Vote NO on bee ordinance. What happens when I sell my house and have to disclose a bee hive on adjacent property. Do HOAs have a say in allowing this change to our local community? My wife is allergic to bee stings. The number one predator of bees......skunks. Need I say more?

Submitted by Cheryl Thomas on Sun, 05/09/2021 - 9:46 am

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Please vote yes - I am all for bee keeping. I understand that folks have allergies. But we should keep things in perspective - people can drown in backyard pools but they are not licensed, people can die by electrocution but electricity is allowed, we have fireplaces that burn real wood which can cause harm. There are so many examples that we could go on and on. I personally believe that we need bees in our community.

Submitted by Jim Coats on Mon, 05/10/2021 - 1:51 pm

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My wife and I have a large garden and love bees. We have also have had a pet whose foot swelled and was in pain to find out a $150 dollars later it had stepped on a bee. My neighbors have a giant Eucalyptus tree and that should be alright except it hangs over in my yard and "I" have to pick up their leaves, that's not right. If a neighbor wants to to smoke pot in their yard that's fine but when when the smoke comes in our yard that's a problem. If you want to raise bees that's fine if you can keep them in your yard . When your bees come in my yard that's a problem.

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