NORTH OGDEN -- The city is considering a bee ordinance, although some question the need for one.
Resident Nathan Hall brought the issue before the city council. He is an avid beekeeper and owns a beekeeping business in Ogden.
He has been working with Ogden on revising its bee ordinance, but he doesn't think a specific ordinance is needed.
His understanding is that in an agricultural area, if the use of the bees is for an agricultural purpose, he is within the law as long he is not breaking noise or lighting laws.
Mayor Richard Harris also wondered if a specific ordinance was needed, as did Councilman Wade Bigler.
"We don't have city ordinances that say you can drive on the road," Bigler said. He said the city shouldn't be telling someone they could keep bees.
Hall said the law seems ambiguous.
City Manager Ron Chandler clarified and said the ordinance is needed because of land-use laws. Certain actions are not permitted unless there is a conditional use of those actions.
"If you would like to permit bees, you should err on the safe side and require a permit," Chandler said.
The state also requires beekeepers to license with the state and has licensing laws that would be included in the ordinance, but not repeated in the ordinance.
Hall currently keeps bees in the city, even though there is no ordinance in place now, and said he has generally been met with acceptance from his neighbors. However, he said, one neighbor has complained to the city, so Hall decided to approach the city about an ordinance.
Hall said he started keeping bees to increase yield in his garden and said gardens generally improve by 400 percent with bees around, which he has found to be true, as have his neighbors.
City Councilman Kent Bailey asked Hall if he was prepared to have issues, as no ordinance is in place now, but Hall said he isn't worried because of the way he looks at the agricultural laws.
Community Development Director Craig Barker talked with the county bee inspector and got some suggestions for guidelines for an ordinance, which include being careful with the lot size, and he suggested not permitting bees on property less than a quarter-acre.
Chandler said the city could also put parameters on how far hives can be from the property line and so forth.
City Councilman Brent Taylor suggested the planning commission work on an ordinance for the council to look at and said it should be treated like any other agricultural use, such as horses, cows or chickens.
Barker will work with the planning commission and with Hall to create an ordinance.
Hall said several surrounding cities have adopted ordinances, and that North Ogden can do the same: "I'm just trying to build a bridge before it needs to be crossed."