Beekeeping officially regulated in River Forest

Hobbyists now face a fine of up to $500 for every day they remain outside the new ordinance

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Staff Reporter

River Forest's seven-member Village Board finally agreed on regulations binding local beekeepers, after another thoughtful, hour-long discussion Nov. 27. 

After four months of research by River Forest's seven-person sustainability committee, and at least two Village Board meetings where conversation over beekeeping legislation buzzed for more than an hour, the River Forest government has finally regulated the hobby. 

"As we talk about beehives more and more, the more popular it's going to be," said Cathy Adduci, village president. "It's really not over-regulation, it's just trying to say the delicate balance of keeping you enthused about your beehives and honey but, at the same time, listening to residents who are afraid of bees."   

Beekeepers must now pay a $25 permit fee to register their two allotted hives with the village every year, post signs on their property about the fact that they keeps, along with their village permit number, and notify all new, adjacent property owners about their hobby, according to the new ordinance. In beekeepers permit application, neighbors must sign off that they have been alerted them about their neighbor's hobby, and that the proposed beekeeper has provided them with information about honey bees. 

If an adjacent property owner suffers from a life-threatening allergy to bees, they have seven-days post-notification to provide a signed doctor's note to the village verifying their allergy. Their neighbor will then be barred from keeping bees. 

Those who suffer from apiphobia—or a fear of bees—can attend a free class at Dominican University about the practice during the spring, summer and fall months. 

Dominican University's four hives will be grandfathered in to the ordinance. The institution will not have to notify nearby adjacent owners about their hives, since their bees sit nowhere near outside property. 

Beekeepers will be charged up to $500 daily for violating River Forest's new legislation. New permits will expire by Nov. 30 every year. The village plans to list the addresses and permit numbers of all local beekeepers on the village website, after the new site launches in December.

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