Allow Responsible Urban Beekeeping in Wilton, Iowa

Allow Responsible Urban Beekeeping in Wilton, Iowa

June 12, 2022
Petition to
Wilton City Administrator Jeff Horne
Signatures: 206Next Goal: 500
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Why this petition matters

Started by Grant Harkness

***This petition is limited to residents of Wilton, Iowa.***

This petition seeks to inform the City Council of Wilton, IA on the level of interest of local residents to amend the current ordinances that prohibit the practice of responsible urban beekeeping.

The specific ordinances that this petition seeks to inform on and have responsibly reformed are as follows: 

9.16.180 "To keep within the city such bothersome animals as barking dogs, bees, cattle, horses, swine, and sheep which tend to disrupt the peace and good order of the community is a violation of this chapter."

19.08.200 ""Animal farm" means the production, keeping or maintenance for sale, lease or personal use of animals useful to humans, including but not limited to: dairy animals, poultry, livestock, including beef cattle, sheep, swine, horses, ponies, mules, or goats or any mutations or hybrids thereof, including the breeding and grazing of any or all of such animals; bees, fish, and fur animals but not including rabbits kept as pets."

Wilton, Iowa still maintains these ordinances dating back to 1973 and 1986 that prohibit beekeeping in the city limits, clearly out of step with modern modifications to laws and ordinances that not only protect beekeeping, but encourage it. Such modern modifications to urban beekeeping laws have been adopted around the world. The outdated ordinances cited above place Wilton amongst a diminishing list of cities and towns in Iowa that still place an outright prohibition on urban beekeeping. Cedar Rapids, Muscatine, Iowa City, Davenport, Waterloo, Ottumwa, and even the capital city of Des Moines have laws allowing beekeeping within city limits. 

Iowa passed progressive laws over 30 years ago to encourage cooperation between commercial chemical applicators and beekeepers. The ordinances cited above are from an age where bees, both imported and domestic, were abundant and not in a state of collapse, a fact recognized by scientists in the 1990's. Wilton's current ordinances are clearly not informed by modern practices and vital assessments that show how much of a positive impact urban beekeeping has on local ecosystems. In the state of Iowa alone, bees have an estimated impact of $92 million annually as plant pollinators. With over 100 crops known to be pollinated by honey bees, the positive impact that these relentless workers have on our local ecosystems, including urban gardens and fruit tree productivity, is without question. Responsible urban beekeeping has a direct, positive impact on the vitality of gardens and the yields of urban-cultivated crops.

It is our opinion that there is room to make meaningful changes in a responsible manner by reforming the ordinances cited above to better reflect the current climate of public and ecological interests. The findings of this petition will be used in concert with other data, and will be presented before the City Council of Wilton, Iowa at a time to be determined.

To learn more about bees, beekeeping, and the impact these insects have on our food production, economy, and ecological wellbeing, visit the following links:

"101 Fun Bee Facts"

"Impacts of honeybee density on crop yield: A meta-analysis"

"Overview of Bee Pollination and Its Economic Value for Crop Production"

"The Sting Factor"

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Signatures: 206Next Goal: 500
Support now