Champaigns — bees — innumerable — fly around the five beehives of Charles “Stretch” Redford in a vacant lot along a stream just west of Champaign.
Redford, a professor at the University of Illinois Media University, said he was first interested in beekeeping during a 1999 photo shoot.
He was stabbed at the time, but he was still fascinated by what he saw. He currently has three urticaria just south of Urbana, in addition to the five urticaria west of Champaign.
“It’s a labor of love, that’s what it is,” Redford said. “It’s cool. Bees are cool.”
Not so cool to him are the zoning and annoying ordinance amendments to Champaign County that will affect some local beekeepers.
Ledford and many others are ready to talk tonight in front of the county’s zoning referees about the proposed new requirements.
The rule applies only to beehives in residential zoning areas of the county and does not affect hives in agriculture or other zoning categories, said county zoning manager John Hall.
According to Hall, tonight’s beekeeping regulation session is likely to be followed up at least once before the zoning committee, at least in October before the issue landed before the entire county committee. It is said that it will be.
“Given the number of people I want to talk to, I think it will be held at least a couple of times at ZBA,” he said.
Alongside enthusiast beekeepers and others who are keen to see bee breeding are county residents who have a list of complaints about living near beehives.
Example: A child or grandchild is stabbed. Bee droppings in their homes and cars; bees swarming around swimming pools, bird baths, hummingbird feeding boxes, and dog water bowls. And the outdoor rally has been interrupted.
“The beekeeper taught me how to get dressed, how to bathe, lotions that shouldn’t be worn, lotions that shouldn’t be worn in Cologne,” signed by residents of the northeastern Prairie View district and Mary Lou Barebone. The letter attached to the petition states. The edge of the urbana.
According to Hall, the dispute between beekeepers and neighbors dates back to 2018 and returned to the county committee’s Environment and Land Use Commission in 2020. The same committee again heard complaints from Prairie View neighbors in April of this year.
Currently proposed are attempts to minimize beekeeping in residential areas while minimizing incompatibilities.
Under the proposed zoning ordinance changes, beekeeping is only permitted for the use of accessories made by relatives on the premises and only with permission.
According to Hall, it seems to affect Redford, who has urticaria in two host facilities because his yard is too small, but he doesn’t have to. The ordinance treats beekeeping in residential areas as a home profession and allows one non-resident employee. This could be a beekeeper, but the paperwork must be done in the name of the host resident.
It has also been proposed to limit the number of beehives in plots up to 10,000 square feet to three, and to limit one nuclear (small) colony for each allowed hive. For every additional 10,000 square feet, another hive and nuclear colony is allowed.
Regulations also mean that the beehive is at least 30 feet from the street, at least 10 feet from other site boundaries, and at least 30 feet from adjacent houses and some other structures in adjacent plots such as patios and pools. I request that. In addition, beekeepers should place a 4-foot-high fence or wall with a self-latch gate around a honeycomb or nuclear colony in a plot of 40,000 square feet or less. Also, for hives less than 16 feet from the lane markings, a 6 foot high flyway barrier is required.
Redford said fencing requirements alone would be exorbitant and argued that the proposed regulation was “government overkill.”
“The ordinance uses a hammer to beat a few bees,” he said.
Mark Roderick said he was happy to host some of Redford’s beehives at his home on West Kirby Avenue, just outside the borders of Champaign. Bees are important for agriculture. They don’t bother, he said, and he can even mow around the hive.
“They are fun to watch,” Roderick said.
Delard Seed, a resident of the Prairie View subdivision, and his family had different experiences. His children and grandchildren were bitten by bees from their neighbors’ hives, and there were bee droppings everywhere in their homes, cars, and boats, he said.
“I get angry when I see my grandson stabbed,” he said.
According to Seeds, he and his family have been involved in this fragmentation for 40 years, and his neighbors have had similar problems in recent years.
“I understand that everyone needs bees,” he said. “We need them to pollinate, but not in residential areas.”
Seed apiary neighbor Lena Wilson Jones said she has 40 beehives, but moved them to several other places in the county, all in agricultural areas.
She said she originally started beekeeping to play her part for bees.
“My main purpose was only to grow healthy bees, because a few years ago we knew we needed to grow bees,” she said.
She and Redford argued that the proposed regulations meant making it more difficult and potentially out of reach for people to start and continue to be beekeepers. ..
“Bees are responsible for pollinating one-third of our food,” Wilson Jones said. “It’s important.”
And bees need the help of beekeepers, she said, because they are affected by pesticides, illness, and lack of feed.
As Wilson Jones moved her bees, Hall said the problems his neighbor had with her bees were over. He said that if a neighbor still has a bee problem, it could be due to bees flying to the neighborhood from a nearby agricultural area because they are attracted to water bodies such as pools. rice field.
“The local beekeeper says he intends to kill the beekeeper,” Hall said. “That’s not our intention. I don’t think it will happen,” he said.
The county’s zoning committee is set to meet at the Brooks Administration Center (1776 E. Washington Street, U) at 6:30 tonight.
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