Nicholas Weaver has been raising honeybees at his Cumming, Georgia home since he was 13 years old. When he first started the hobby, he researched the legalities of beekeeping in the area and could not find any prohibitions regarding honeybees. Over time, Weaver’s beekeeping became so popular within the community, that neighbors began to ask him to move his honeybees to their yards on occassion to help with the pollination of their landscaping and gardens.
Despite the fact that Nicholas has been a thriving and popular backyard beekeeper for the past 13 years, Weaver recently had a complaint filed against him through the Code Enforcement Office. He was told he would have to remove his bees from the property because they are a violation of the county zoning code. The Planning and Development Director of the Forsyth County Planning and Zoning Department now has the power to make a determination as to whether or not being a backyard beekeeper in a residential area will be permitted. His determination will affect most of the backyard beekeepers, and their honeybees, in Forsyth County.
The majority of honeybees in Forsyth County and throughout Georgia are kept in residential areas by backyard beekeepers. Backyard beekeeping is a sustainable way to help the honeybees, which are currently dying off from Colony Collapse Disorder. Because honeybees pollinate a full one-third of the food we eat, backyard beekeeping also boosts local food security. We believe having an ordinance that specifically allows backyard beekeepers to keep honeybees in areas zoned residential is critically important to the survival of the European honeybee.
Considering the plight of the honey bee, and the benefits they provide, it should not be made more difficult or even illegal to keep honeybees in your backyard. Please sign this petition urging Planning and Zoning Director Tom Brown to allow Weaver to keep his bees on his property and to change the Unified Development Code to allow for backyard beekeeping.