Beekeeping ordinance creates a buzz
A third of West Jordan’s resident beekeepers turned up at city hall on Aug. 8 in reaction to a new ordinance on the table regarding beekeeping. But it turned out they and the city council were on the same page: the ordinance was not ready.
In a unanimous vote, the city council decided to table the ordinance until it could be revised into something more honeybee-friendly.
Mark Borovatz, a resident of over 35 years and active member of the Wasatch Beekeepers Association, as well as beekeeper educator and mentor, said that while he doesn’t oppose the ordinance, he does oppose some of the content that does not benefit the honeybee or the keeper.
“Education is a powerful tool,” he said. “When it comes to beekeeping, there is a tremendous lack of education.”
For every sting that occurs, he continued, a bee is held accountable. The state has had an infestation of hornets, wasps and other critters due to the mild winter and spring.
“But everybody blames the bees,” he complained.
He recommended tabling the ordinance until issues such as hive location, distance and height could he addressed, and offered his services to educate the city on the art of beekeeping.
City Community Development Director Tom Burdett agreed that the ordinance needs adjustment.
“We’re in complete agreement with the comments that we continue it, so that we can refine some of those issues,” he said.
But he felt that since there was public notification of the beekeeping ordinance, city officials get some opinions from the councilmembers and residents so they could have as much information as possible.
In creating the ordinance, they started out with a working committee composed mostly of city staff representation.
“Our goals were to keep it simple,” Burdett said. “We wanted to authorize beekeeping in residential areas. I think most of our direction was focused on direction, safety, location and intensity of beekeeping within those residential areas.”
Councilmember Clive Killpack questioned whether those writing the ordinance knew much about beekeeping.
“I’m not against the ordinance,” Killpack said. “I just think the way the ordinance is written is not founded on sound principles having to do with bee keeping, and I’d like those who are experienced beekeepers who know this art to have input before we adopt any type of ordinance.”
Councilmember Chris McConnehey himself owns three hives and his parents own two.
“I would very much like to see us continue this, and get the bugs worked out,” he said.