Beekeeping in St. Louis Park will likely remain a legal hobby, but don't be surprised if new regulations are added.
The St. Louis Park City Council discussed the issue Monday during a study session, and most members said they'd like to see beekeeping continue to be allowed in the city. Currently, the practice is OK by default, because city code is mum on residential beekeeping.
However, council member Sue Sanger and Mayor Jeff Jacobs were less supportive.
“I’d like to prevent problems rather than let them fester and become complaints," Sanger said. "I don’t want to authorize adding even more (bees).”
The issue , prompted by a resident who had lodged a complaint about being stung by bees from a neighbor's backyard hive. At the time, city staff proposed that council simply ban residential beekeeping as part of a larger wildlife ordinance. But council members decided to discuss beekeeping separately.
While nearby Edina, Golden Valley and Plymouth ban the practice, other area cities, such as Minneapolis, allow residential beekeeping but also regulate and license the hobby.
St. Louis Park could take this path. At Monday's meeting, staff presented the rough outline of a regulating ordinance. It would require that beekeepers present proof that they've completed an accredited beekeeping program.
A hive would also have to be at least 25 feet from a property line, or 10 feet with an artificial flyway barrier. And beekeeping would not be allowed in front yards, or at apartments and other multi-family residences.
Councilman Jake Spano, who said his preference would be to simply allow beekeeping with no caveats, said he'd be OK with some regulations if they weren't too restrictive. He added that he didn't want to see the city overreact to one resident's complaint.
“The response should be proportionate to the problem,” he said.
Mayor Jacobs, who said he'd prefer an outright ban, also said he'd be OK with regulations. He added that he wanted to be extra careful to not have hives near parks and other areas where kids play.
“If we’re going to (allow beekeeping), we better have some regulations out there,” Jacobs said.
The issue will come back before council at a later meeting.