Legalize beekeeping in the City of Oneonta, NY

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Oneonta, NY is one of a very small number of municipalities (Ithaca and Geneva) in New York State that outright bans beekeeping within city limits. With a rising popularity in backyard beekeeping at a time when pollinators are under threat from disease and habitat loss, now is more important than ever to enable citizens to do their part to encourage local pollinator populations, which benefit home gardeners as well as small farms within a 5-mile radius of a hive. 

A common sense amendment to City Code § 68-1 to allow beekeeping within the city is a reasonable provision for a rural urban center in the middle of the farming communities of Central NY, in the Northern foothills of the Catskill Mountains.

A recent 2015 amendment to the same provision allowing keeping of chickens passed after much debate, and a 1-year sunset provision has been removed in 2017, as no issues have arisen from allowing the practice in the city. The same logical conclusion can be applied to the practice of beekeeping. 

In 2010, the City of New York legalized beekeeping with great success. In NYC there is no fee to register as a beekeeper and there are no limits on the number of hives permitted. An annual form from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene gathers basic information and requires registering the hives with the state Department of Agriculture and Markets via the Honey Bee Health Information Form.

If New York City can safely and smartly allow beekeeping in one of the largest cities in the world, there is no reason why beekeeping should be prohibited in Oneonta, or anywhere else.



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