The City Council on Wednesday will hear a proposal to make it easier for residents to raise honeybees.
City Councilor Ruthzee Louijeune filed the proposal to make honeybee raising allowable under a city ordinance, rather than a forbidden use under the city zoning code. Louijeune cites the importance of honeybees for not just agricultural pollination but for helping urban plants better reproduce - which in turn could help improve the urban environment through increased oxygen production and reduced erosion by healthier plants, not to mention increase the stock of locally produced honey.
Over the years, a number of hobbyists across the city have set up hives. The InterContinental Boston has a rooftop apiary, and uses the honey the bees make for dishes at Miel, its French restaurant, whose name means "Honey" in French.
The measure sets out a series of proposed regulations, including a minimum distance between hives and homes, steps beekeepers would have to take to keep bees from flying into windows or doors of any close nearby buildings and a maximum hive size of five feet in height and 20 cubic feet in inside space. Also, no hives at all in front yards.
Enforcement would be up to city Animal Control and ISD, starting with a warning, and followed with fines for subsequent offenses.
The council normally submits proposed ordinances and zoning changes to a council committee, which then holds at least one public hearing before issuing a recommendation for action to the entire council.