[Adopted 3-6-2019 by Ord. No. 2019-01]
That the findings contained in the preamble of this article are hereby adopted as a part of this article.
As used in this article, the following words and terms shall have the meanings ascribed in this section unless the context of their usage indicates another usage.
- The assembly of one or more colonies of bees at a single location.
- A person who owns or has charge of one or more colonies of bees.
- BEEKEEPING EQUIPMENT
- Anything used in the operation of an apiary, such as hive bodies, supers, frames, top and bottom boards and extractors.
- An aggregate of bees consisting principally of workers, but having, when perfect, one queen and at times drones, brood, combs, and honey.
- The receptacle inhabited by a colony that is manufactured for that purpose.
- All life stages of the common domestic honeybee, apis mellifera species.
- A contiguous parcel of land under common ownership.
- NUCLEUS COLONY
- A small quantity of bees with a queen housed in a smaller than usual hive box designed for a particular purpose.
- UNDEVELOPED PROPERTY
- Any idle land that is not improved or actually in the process of being improved with residential, commercial, industrial, church, park, school or governmental facilities or other structures or improvements intended for human occupancy and the grounds maintained in associations therewith. The term shall be deemed to include property developed exclusively as a street or highway or property used for commercial agricultural purposes.
The purpose of this article is to establish certain requirements for beekeeping within the Borough, to avoid issues which might otherwise be associated with beekeeping in populated areas.
Compliance with this article shall not be a defense to a proceeding alleging that a given colony constitutes a nuisance, but such compliance may be offered as evidence of the beekeeper's efforts to abate any proven nuisance.
Compliance with this article shall not be a defense to a proceeding alleging that a given colony violates applicable ordinances regarding public health, but such compliance may be offered as evidence of the beekeeper's compliance with acceptable standards of practice among hobby beekeepers in the State of Pennsylvania.
Honeybee colonies shall be kept in hives with removable frames, which shall be kept in sound and usable condition.
Each beekeeper shall ensure that a convenient source of water is available to the colony so long as colonies remain active outside of the hive.
Each beekeeper shall ensure that no wax comb or other material that might encourage robbing by other bees are left upon the grounds of the apiary lot. Such materials once removed from the site shall be handled and stored in sealed containers, or placed within a building or other insect-proof container.
For each colony permitted to be maintained under this article, there may also be maintained upon the same apiary lot, one nucleus colony in a hive structure not to exceed one standard 9 5/8 inch depth ten-frame hive body with no supers.
Each beekeeper shall maintain his beekeeping equipment in good condition, including keeping the hives painted if they have been painted but are peeling or flaking, and securing unused equipment from weather, potential theft or vandalism and occupancy by swarms. It shall not be a defense to this article that a beekeeper's unused equipment attracted a swarm and that the beekeeper is not intentionally keeping bees.
Except as otherwise provided in this article, in each instance where a colony is kept less than 25 feet from a property line of the lot upon which the apiary is located, as measured from the nearest point on the hive to the property, line, the beekeeper shall establish and maintain a flyway barrier at least six feet in height. The flyway barrier may consist of a wall, fence, dense vegetation or a combination thereof, such that bees will fly over rather than through the material to reach the colony. If a flyway barrier of dense vegetation is used, the initial planting may be four feet in height, so long as the vegetation normally reaches six feet in height or higher. The flyway barrier must continue parallel to the apiary lot line for 10 feet in either direction from the hive, or contain the hive or hives in an enclosure at least six feet in height. A flyway barrier is not required if the property adjoining the apiary lot line is undeveloped, or is zoned agricultural, industrial or is outside of the Borough limits, or is a wildlife management area or naturalistic park land with no horse or foot trails located within 25 feet of the apiary lot line.
No person is permitted to keep more than the following numbers of colonies on any lot within the Borough, based upon the size or configuration of the apiary lot:
Regardless of lot size, so long as all lots within a radius of at least 200 feet from any hive, measured from any point on the front of the hive, remain undeveloped, there shall be no limit to the number of colonies. No grandfathering rights shall accrue under this subsection.
If the beekeeper serves the community by removing a swarm or swarms of honeybees from locations where they are not desired, the beekeeper shall not be considered in violation of the portion of this article limiting the number of colonies if he temporarily houses the swarm on the apiary lot in compliance with the standards of practice set out in this article for no more than 30 days from the date acquired.
A designated Borough official shall have the right to inspect any apiary for the purpose of ensuring compliance with this article between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. once annually upon prior notice to the owner of the apiary property, and more often upon complaint without prior notice.
For the purpose of enforcing Borough ordinances against destruction of property, each colony/hive shall be presumed to have a value of $275.
Upon receipt of credible information that any colony located within the Borough is not being kept in compliance with this article, the designated Borough official shall cause an investigation to be conducted. If the investigation shows that a violation may exist and will continue, the designated Borough official shall cause a written notice of hearing to be issued to the beekeeper, which notice shall set forth:
The date, the time and the place that the hearing will be held, which date shall be not less than 30 days' from the date of the notice;
The violation alleged;
That the beekeeper may appear in person or through counsel, present evidence, cross examine witnesses and request a court reporter, and
That if the designated Borough official finds that they have been kept in violation of this article, and if the violation is not remediated within the time allowed, the bees may be ordered removed and/or destroyed.
Notices shall be given by certified United States Mail, return receipt requested or personal delivery. However, if the beekeeper cannot be located, then notice may be given by publication in a legal newspaper for the county in which the apiary property is located, at least seven days before the hearing.
The hearing shall be conducted by the designated Borough official. The burden shall be on the Borough to demonstrate by a preponderance of evidence that the colony or colonies have been kept in violation of this article. If the designated Borough official finds a violation, then he/she may order that the bees be removed from the Borough or such other action as may address the violation, and that the apiary lot be disqualified for permitting under this article for a period of two years from the date of the order, the apiary lot ownership changes, in which case the prohibition shall terminate. If the order has not been complied with within 20 days of the order, the Borough may remove or destroy the bees and charge the beekeeper with the cost thereof. Upon destruction of bees by the Borough, all equipment shall be returned by the Borough to the beekeeper, with expenses of transportation to be paid by the beekeeper. The Borough's destruction of the bees shall be by a method that will not damage or contaminate the equipment, including wax foundation.
The decision of the hearing officer may be appealed by the beekeeper as provided in the Borough's rules and procedures. If no provision for appeal exists, then the beekeeper may file a notice of appeal with the Borough secretary within 15 days of the date the order is placed in United States Mail to the beekeeper, or 10 days if the decision is announced at the hearing by the designated Borough official. An appeal shall not stay the designated Borough official's decision, and the beekeeper shall be required to comply with such order pending the outcome of the appeal.
No hearing and no order shall be required for the destruction of honeybees not residing in a hive structure that is intended for beekeeping.
In the event any part of this article or its application to any person or property is held to be unenforceable for any reason, the unenforceability thereof will not affect the enforceability and application of the remainder of this article, which will remain in full force and effect.