West Jordan • To bee or not to bee, that remains the question in Utah's fourth largest city.
The issue of backyard beekeeping created quite the buzz Tuesday night as West Jordan's City Council stood poised to join the growing trend of cities that allow the fascinating and delectable hobby.
After hearing from several neighborhood beekeepers who voiced concerns about the city's draft ordinance being too restrictive, council members voted unanimously to table it for further input and revision. Longtime West Jordan resident Mark Borovatz, a mentor and advocate for the Wasatch Beekeepers Association, has three hives and a large pollinator garden on his property.
"I'm opposing some of the [ordinance] content that is not to the benefit of the honeyÂbee or the beekeeper," Borovatz told the City Council, asking that they revisit the allowed number of hives, location and height of hives, and also the concerns about honeybees in swarms.
Borovatz submitted comments detailing how honeybees adjust their own hive size according to the amount of sustenance and water in the vicinity and that some hives can grow as high as 9 feet under optimum nectar conditions. He also said that bees swarm as part of their life cycle and an adept beekeeper uses techniques to control the process.
"Education is a powerful tool," Borovatz said, pledging his help to refine the regulations.
Councilman Chris McConnehey acknowledged having beehives in his yard, as did Senior Planner Ray McCandless.
"Even the White House has its own apiary," McCandless said. "There's more and more interest in [beekeeping]."
West Jordan will revise the proposed ordinance and bring it back at a later date for council approval. In the meantime, council members voted to suspend any code enforcement against existing residential beehives.
The trend • Salt Lake City, Provo and Salt Lake County permit and regulate urban beekeeping, as do Denver, New York, Milwaukee, Santa Monica and Seattle.
West Jordan's proposal • No front yard hives; back and side yards must have six-foot solid fences; one hive permitted per 5,000 square feet; no more than eight hives allowed on any size lot. Hive height capped at five feet. Aggressive bees must be "requeened."
Source • West Jordan City