KALAMA — Kalama residents can now keep bees near their homes after the City Council approved an ordinance Thursday regulating the activity, about two months after the change was proposed.
The new ordinance regulates the number of hives residents can have based on their property size, where hives should be placed, requires hives to be registered with the state Department of Agriculture and defines when bees are considered a nuisance.
Washington state law requires beekeepers to register hives annually with the Department of Agriculture, and has several other regulations on beekeeping.
In late March, the Cowlitz Beekeepers Association requested the city change its ordinance banning beekeeping inside city limits to allow more people to enjoy the activity, according to the group’s proposal.
The proposal states the bees would benefit the community by providing pollination, educational opportunities and local honey.
Other cities, including Longview and Kelso, allow beekeeping within city limits, according to the proposal. Most Washington cities don’t have beekeeping regulations, but some have specific ordinances.
During discussion in early May, Councilmember Sandra Macias Hughes voiced concern about liability and citizen education about beekeeping. City Attorney Sam Satterfield said during the May 6 meeting that the city isn’t going to be liable since the ordinance requires proper bee handling practices and it’s difficult, if not impossible, to tie a bee to a certain hive.