ROY -- Some residents living on small-sized lots want to keep bees and hope the city council will loosen an ordinance so it can happen.
The city currently allows hives on lots of 20,000 square feet or larger on the west end of the city.
However, several residents expressed interest in keeping bees on smaller lots during a recent town meeting, and again at the May 15 city council meeting.
Councilman Michael Stokes told residents that to amend the ordinance, the council needs to know "many" residents are interested. When the council visited the issue a couple of years ago there were few who expressed interest, so the measure never progressed.
Stokes said the council isn't opposed to revisiting it, but there needs to be a grass-roots effort from residents.
The council asked the audience at the town meeting what the interest level was and a majority of hands shot up. Several residents said if the bees keep the hornets and wasps away, they would be even more in favor of it.
Mayor Joe Ritchie said the council needed to research the matter and invited Jerry Lynn from the Wasatch Bee Keepers Association to give a presentation.
Lynn explained that there is not a lot of danger involved with allowing residents to keep hives.
"You don't have to have enough property for horses to have a hive," he said.
Lynn cautioned the council to not allow huge numbers of hives on the smaller properties -- perhaps no more than three. He also suggested the council look at surrounding cities' ordinances and follow closely what they do.
"You don't have to reinvent the wheel," he said.
Councilman Brad Hilton said one of his main concerns was that people will be hurt, but he now understands that if people don't bother the bees, the bees won't bother the people.
Ritchie said the council is eager to learn in order to make an educated decision on behalf of residents.
Resident Les Scheer said he would love to have bees on his 1/5-acre property. He said he kept bees until a couple of years ago, when he learned it was against city ordinances.
"I would absolutely love to have them again," he said.
Resident Joe Marrero approached the council at the town meeting and again at the city council meeting. He is hopeful the council will make changes, especially following recent media attention given to beekeepers and the need for more beehives. He would like to have the bees for a learning experience for his family as well as for financial reasons.
The council will continue to discuss the measure and work with the planning commission on a possible change to the ordinance, but no specific timeline has been set.