Elected officials gave their final approval on Monday, paving the way for honeybee hives to start popping up around Oak Park next year.
With little discussion, trustees voted 6-1 to approve the rule change, with Ray Johnson saying no. He said last week that he was compelled by arguments from some local Realtors who worry that neighboring beekeepers might make it more difficult to sell homes.
It was back in October 2010 that the local board of health recommended that the village should allow residents to maintain beehives. Such a practice was previously considered a "nuisance" under village code, but Oak Park resident Debbie Becker (also a Wednesday Journal employee) had been pushing for the past couple of years to change the rule.
Supporters have argued that bees would be good for local gardens, an educational opportunity, and a way to make Oak Park "greener" by allowing people to make their own honey and wax here. On the other side, opponents have worried about the dangers to people with bee allergies.
Several neighboring communities, including Evanston and the city of Chicago, have already legalized beekeeping in recent years.
Provisions in the new ordinance include charging $75 for an annual beekeeping permit, banning hives within 150 feet of residents who are allergic to bees, and having apiaries inspected once a year. Officials said that beekeepers will be allowed to keep their permits if neighbors who have allergies move within 150 feet later on.
The health department is expected to start accepting applications for permits soon, according to Public Health Director Margaret Provost-Fyfe.