City Council makes it easy to ‘bee’ in Anniston
by Paige Rentz
prentz@annistonstar.com
Mar 27, 2013 | 7307 views |  0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Model City may get a little sweeter with a new ordinance that makes it easier to keep honeybees.

The Anniston City Council on Tuesday authorized new regulations to ease distance restrictions and promote requirements for apiaries — beekeeping facilities — established within the city.

“We’re moving toward sustainability, and we are going to show that we’re a progressive city,” Councilwoman Millie Harris said before the council’s unanimous vote.

The city’s previous regulations prohibited keeping bees within 300 feet — the length of a football field — of any residence or structure but provided no guidelines for beekeeping practices.

The new ordinance removes the minimum distance requirement and replaces it with a requirement that any bee colony within 25 feet of a property line be screened with a flyway barrier — either a solid wall or dense vegetation — at least 10 feet high and extending 10 feet from the colony in either direction parallel to the property line. Beekeepers are also required to provide a convenient source of water for the bees to discourage them from seeking it in nearby swimming pools, bird baths or sources near humans and pets.

Harris, who brought the proposal to the council, said the new ordinance was modeled after the beekeeping ordinance of Milwaukee, Wis., which is considered one of the best in the country.

The issue was first brought to Harris’ attention by Sarah Cavender, an Anniston resident who wanted to branch out from her interest in organic gardening to beekeeping. But when she researched the city code, she realized she couldn’t do so legally.

She said there are a number of benefits to promoting local beekeeping, including a boost to pollination, sustaining shrinking bee populations and the availability of local honey.

“I thought it should be encouraged,” she said, “not discouraged.”

In other business, the council:

• Appointed Matthew Wright of Ward 1 to the Parks, Recreation and Beautification Board.

• Appointed Jim McClellan of Ward 4 to the McClellan Development Authority.

• Approved a resolution supporting the city’s Education and Economic Development Partnership strategic planning initiative with the Anniston Board of Education. According to the resolution, the two bodies will “begin a dialogue that addresses a relocation of the Anniston Middle School to enhance both the value of education and city development opportunities.”

• Approved a resolution opposing proposed state legislation that would prevent municipalities from imposing a business license tax on the rental of residential real estate on a per unit basis. Harris abstained because the matter affects her personally, she said. Reddick also abstained, saying he did not know enough about the proposed legislation to vote on the resolution Tuesday.

• Authorized City Manager Don Hoyt to enter into an agreement with Kimberly Richardson Consulting to administer the city’s Community Development Block Grant and the Anniston/Calhoun County HOME programs.

• Declared property at 2006 McCoy Ave., formerly the site of a Parks and Recreation building, surplus and authorized it sale.

• Declared overgrown lot conditions at 905 Hillyer High Road a public nuisance.

• Approved a Lounge Retail Liquor-Class I Liquor application for Lil Dixies Cue & Grill.

• Approved the closing of the streets around the perimeter of Zinn Park on April 27 from 8 a.m. until midnight for a ministry program at the park.

• Approved the addition of a “Standards of Conduct Regarding Federal and State Grants” policy to the city’s Policy and Procedures Manual.

Staff writer Paige Rentz: 256-235-3564. On Twitter @PRentz_Star.

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