Silt beekeeping on, off, on again
SILT, Colorado – There will be no honeybees kept in hives in the town of Silt, if the Board of Trustees holds fast to its current position.That was not always the case, however.As recently as mid-July, according to town planner Janet Aluise, the trustees voted 5-2 to approve an ordinance establishing licensing and rules to regulate beekeeping within the town.She said there currently are no beehives within the town limits, and the town had no law to either permit beekeeping or regulate the practice.But within two weeks of the trustees’ vote in favor of beekeeping, at the July 23 meeting, Aluise said, something changed.”By second reading, three had changed their minds,” she said. The final vote was 5-2 against the ordinance, she said.”Several board members were concerned about safety, and about the infringement of rights,” Aluise said.Neighbors of anyone keeping bees in town, she explained, might have allergies or might not want to have beehives near their home.Another concern, Aluise said, is that bees kept in town might develop diseases that could endanger commercial beekeeping operations in the area.She referred to the ongoing decline in certain bee populations around the world and in the U.S., a phenomenon that also had worried the trustees.Recent studies have tentatively linked that decline to use of a family of pesticides known as neonicotinoids, which have been in widespread use for about 20 years, according to a March 29 story in the New York Times.The trustees’ rejection of the ordinance left the matter in legal limbo, Aluise said, so it is now going back to the town’s planning and zoning commission for reconsideration, perhaps in October.But first, she said, she plans to rewrite the proposed ordinance and hold a public meeting to see how the town’s residents feel about hobby beekeeping in town.”We’re trying to go a different direction, so we don’t get a total denial of beekeeping in town,” she said.It was the P&Z that got the bee ordinance rolling, at a meeting on May 1 when the commission debated the matter and recommended that the trustees approve the ordinance.”Obviously, they won’t be happy about it,” Aluise predicted of the P&Z members’ feelings about revisiting the issue.Mark Rinehart, chair of the P&Z, said the proposal came from another commission member, Bob Shivley, who felt beekeeping could provide residents either a worthwhile hobby or a supplemental source of income.”It certainly was done in the spirit of supporting bees, which are having difficulties right now,” Rinehart firstname.lastname@example.org
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