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Flossmoor considers allowing residential beekeeping

The Village of Flossmoor is moving forward with plans to allow residents to practice beekeeping in their backyards.

The Village of Flossmoor is moving forward with plans to allow residents to practice beekeeping in their backyards.
The Flossmoor Village Board on Monday gave the go-ahead for village staff to draft an ordinance including regulations on the extent the hobby would be permitted.
The consideration to allow beekeeping was prompted by resident Phil DeSantis who approached the Flossmoor Green Commission with interest in the hobby.
Commissioner Tristan Shaw said there is typically one beekeeper per thousand people, so with a population of around 9,000, Flossmoor could reasonably expect four or five beekeepers.
“We had one resident come to us, and other people have support, but it is expensive to start beekeeping,” Shaw said. “It’s not a cheap hobby. The average price to start would be around $500.”
Mayor Paul Braun said his thoughts are that the number of beekeeping registrations should be limited to 10 to start, and the board would reconsider if more express interest. 
“I think we ought to walk before we run with this,” he said.
Shaw said the commission would assist the village with educating residents on beekeeping and inspecting beehives for adherence to regulations.
“It is a great hobby,” Shaw said. “It’s great to get people, especially kids, in nature and understanding how it works.”
Braun also said he wanted to clarify for the public that the consideration of beekeeping does not mean allowing other types of livestock is on the table.
“We are not in the business of husbandry here,” Braun said. “Bees are one thing, but if this is opening up the floodgates to chickens, goats and pigs, I’m not in favor of that.”
Public Works Director Scott Bugner overviewed possible regulations based on ordinances in 10 nearby communities that allow beekeeping: Bartlett, Elgin, Elmhurst, Evanston, Oak Park, River Forest, Riverside, Skokie, St. Charles and Westmont.
Bugner said eight of the 10 communities require a registration or permit for beekeeping with fees ranging from $25 to $125. Eight of the 10 communities also require signage to be displayed indicating the presence of an apiary (where beehives of honey bees are kept).
Three of the communities require neighbor notification, and one allows residents with bee allergies to notify their municipality so that beekeeping is prohibited near their homes.
Five of the communities require apiaries to be enclosed with fencing or dense vegetation and gates. Seven communities set a limit of two colonies or hives per property, and four communities cap the overall number of permits.
Bugner said that upon reviewing these practices, village staff recommend limiting the number of hives to two per residence, allowing them in backyards only, establishing setback requirements, requiring neighbor notification and signage, and requiring annual registration and inspection.
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