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Burr Ridge approves backyard beekeeping ordinance

Published: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 11:35 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, July 25, 2014 4:37 a.m. CDT

BURR RIDGE – Backyards may be buzzing in Burr Ridge soon, as the village recently approved an ordinance to allow beekeeping.

The Burr Ridge Board of Trustees unanimously approved a change to the bee keeping ordinance May 27 after several residents asked the village during the winter if bee keeping is allowed.

"We had gotten a few inquiries from residents who wanted to do backyard beekeeping and, at the time, told them that our ordinance currently does not permit that," Burr Ridge Community Development Director Doug Pollock said.

Pollock explained that beekeeping was not listed as a permitted accessory or structure use in the residential district. As a result, residents and Pollock went to the Burr Ridge Plan Commission to inquire about adding that use to the zoning ordinance.

"We did some research and found that a lot of other communities are doing it or allowing it, and we presented that information to our planning commission," he said.

Experts from the Cook DuPage Beekeeper's Association also gave testimonies about beekeeping, alleviating some of the fears and concerns raised by residents who were unfamiliar with the insect's behavioral traits.

During a previous meeting, residents and officials questioned whether bees would colonize elsewhere or infest neighboring properties.

"In fact, there was some testimony that they actually provide a significant benefit to neighbors in a sense of creating more lush landscape," he said.

Ultimately, Pollock said the plan commission recommended the village add permission for beekeeping to the zoning ordinance and the board agreed, but with some restrictions.

Any property of 80,000 square feet or less, about two acres, is allowed a maximum of two bee colonies. Any property exceeding 80,000 square feet may have up to four colonies. The size of the hive, or structure that holds the hive, also cannot exceed 6 feet in height and 8 square feet in area, and must be at least 15 feet from all property lines.

Restrictions also specify the exact type of bee residents can have, which is the domestic honeybee.

"Part of the testimony was that there's a wide variety of bees out there," he said. "Some bees are aggressive and the ones that commonly string people and create a nuisance for people are not the domestic honeybee, so we specifically restricted it to that particular type of bee."

Pollock said residents will not need a permit to practice beekeeping on their property, but will need to be registered with the Illinois Department of Agriculture as the state regulates the hives and keeps track of where they are.

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Know more:

To view all the ordinances within the Village of Burr Ridge, visit www.burr-ridge.gov/Departments/CommunityDevelopment/BuildingZoning.html.

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