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Beekeeping ban fails in committee

The Human Services Committee voted 3 – 2 tonight against banning beekeeping in Evanston.

But the aldermen who opposed the ban said they favor developing a scheme to regulate the practice.

Aldermen Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, and Elizabeth Tisdahl, 7th Ward, said they favored some process to encourage beekeepers to win agreement from their neighbors for the hives and that might limit the number of hives a beekeeper could have.

Supporters and foes of beekeeping tonight largely repeated arguments they’d made when the aldermen first discussed the issue last month. Opponents voiced fears that bees would invade the walls of their homes causing expensive damage and force them to avoid using their yards for fear of stings.

Local beekeepers said honeybees are generally docile and that neighbors are unlikely to even notice the presence of a hive in the neighborhood.

The aldermen voiced dissatisfaction that Susan Dickman of 1517 Madison St., whose plan to let her 14-year-old son Gabriel Jacobs have a beehive sparked the controvery, had gone ahead and installed the hive after the council started debating the issue last month.

Committee Chairman Lionel Jean-Baptiste, 2nd Ward, urged the committee to impose a moratorium on beehives that would require that Gabriel’s hive be removed immediately.

But Alderman Steven Bernstein, 4th Ward, argued the council lacked the power to impose a moratorium retroactively, and the aldermen settled for recommending that the full council consider a moratorium that would stop additional new hives from being installed until the council takes final action on a regulatory scheme.

The full city council is scheduled to consider the beekeeping issue at its June 26 meeting.

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