Chapter 6.19


6.19.010    Purpose.

6.19.020    Certain conduct unlawful.

6.19.030    Definitions.

6.19.040    Beekeeping, hives, and compliance.

6.19.050    Violations.

6.19.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to authorize beekeeping subject to certain requirements intended to avoid problems that may otherwise be associated with beekeeping in populated areas. [Ord. 1082 § 7, 2011.]

6.19.020 Certain conduct unlawful.

Notwithstanding compliance with the various requirements of this chapter, it shall be unlawful for any person to maintain an apiary or to keep any colony on any property in a manner that threatens public health or safety, or creates a nuisance. [Ord. 1082 § 7, 2011.]

6.19.030 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following words and terms shall have the meanings ascribed in this section unless the context of their usage clearly indicates another meaning:

A. “Apiary” means the assembly of one or more colonies of bees at a single location, or a site where hives of bees or hives are kept or found.

B. “Apiarist” or “beekeeper” means a person who owns or has charge of one or more colonies of bees.

C. “Bees” or “honeybees” means all life stages of the common domestic honey bee of the species Apis mellifera.

D. “Beekeeping equipment” means anything used in the operation of an apiary, such as hive bodies, supers, frames, top and bottom boards and extractors.

E. “Colony” or “hive” means an aggregate of bees consisting principally of workers, but having, when perfect, one queen and at times many drones, including brood, combs, honey and the receptacle inhabited by the bees.

F. “Hive” means a manufactured receptacle or container prepared for the use of bees that includes movable frames, combs and substances deposited into the hive by bees.

G. “Person” means a natural person, individual, firm, partnership, company, society, association, corporation or every officer, agent, or employee of one of these entities.

H. “Property” means a parcel of land under common ownership.

I. “Vacant property” means 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 use or occupancy and the grounds maintained in association therewith. The term shall be deemed to include property that is improved but not actually occupied. [Ord. 1082 § 7, 2011.]

6.19.040 Beekeeping, hives, and compliance.

A. Beekeeping. Beekeeping is permitted by permit as an accessory use; provided, that:

1. Beehives will be limited to no more than four production colonies on properties 7,500 square feet or larger;

2. Properties less than 7,500 square feet shall be limited to two production colonies or bee hives;

3. All colonies shall be registered with the Washington State Department of Agriculture in accordance with apiary law, Chapter 15.60 RCW. A copy of that registration, along with a site plan depicting the location of the hive or hives on the property, shall be submitted to the city annually;

4. Colonies shall be re-queened following any swarming or aggressive behavior;

5. Each beekeeper shall ensure that a consistent and convenient source of water is available to the bees at all times in a location that minimizes any nuisance created by bees seeking water on neighboring property.

B. Hives.

1. Honeybee colonies shall be kept in hives with removable frames which shall be kept in sound and usable condition;

2. Adequate space shall be provided in each hive to prevent overcrowding and swarming;

3. Beehives shall not be located within 10 feet of any side or rear lot line and 15 feet from the front property line;

4. Beehives shall be screened by a fence or vegetation at least four feet in height;

5. Hives may be allowed on vacant properties if each hive is marked with the owner’s name, address, telephone number, and state registration number and a beekeeper shall have written approval from the vacant property owner prior to locating any beehives on vacant property that is owned by someone other than the beekeeper.

C. Compliance. Upon receipt of information that any colony or hive situated within the city is not being kept in compliance with this chapter, the city or animal control officer shall cause an investigation to be conducted. If the officer finds that grounds exist to believe that one or more violations have occurred, a written notice of violation shall be issued to the beekeeper. [Ord. 1082 § 7, 2011.]

6.19.050 Violations.

When a violation of this chapter is committed, and provided it is not charged in conjunction with another criminal offense and does not constitute a fourth notice or succeeding notice of violation within a 24-month period, an authorized agent of the city shall issue a civil notice of violation to such violator in lieu of a misdemeanor citation. A violation of this chapter shall be enforced and remedied as provided in Chapter 8.60 RMC. [Ord. 1082 § 7, 2011.]