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Bee warning rule scaled back

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Evanston aldermen Monday scaled back a provision in a proposed ordinance that would require would-be beekeepers in Evanston to notify their neighbors about their plans.

On a motion from Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, the City Council voted to amend the rule to only require notice to abutting property owners, rather than all residents and business tenants in adjoining properties.

Fiske said the original proposal, developed by the city's Health Department, would be too burdensome — especially if there was a large apartment building adjacent to the proposed hive location.

Alderman Eleanor Revelle, 7th Ward, supported the change, saying a similar notice provision — to property owners only — was used in the city's backyard chicken ordinance.

The notice rule — along with a provision calling for a hearing before the City Council's Human Services Committee if any neighbors object to a proposed beehive — had been sought by Nancy Schwartz, of 1106 Hull Terrace, after she learned that her nextdoor neighbor was planning to set up a hive in his backyard. Schwartz suffers from lupus and says she's highly allergic to bee stings.

The revised notice rule still requires another vote by the Council, expected July 11, before it can take effect.

Lisa Hilgenberg.

The Council vote came after the aldermen heard a presentation from Lisa Hilgenberg, a horticulturalist who manages the fruit and vegetable garden at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

She says the garden, which gets more than one million visitors a year, has several beehives. The beehives are very close to visitors she said, but despite that the situation there has been problem-free.

She also showed an image of a beehive on the lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., which she said was perhaps 40 to 50 feet away from the fence line and public sidewalks.

Alderman Fiske said Hilgenberg's presentation encouraged her about the prospects of being able to set up beehives in the city's community gardens.

Related stories

Beekeepers will need to alert neighbors (6/7/16)

Beekeeping veto for neighbors rejected (5/3/16)

New rule would let neighbors sting beekeepers (4/30/16)

Evanston may revisit bee rules (9/9/15)

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