Brooklet City Council says town not zoned for local beehive owners

Brooklet City Council says town not zoned for local beehive owners

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -A Brooklet family’s hobby and side venture could soon be gone after city leaders told them to move 15 beehives outside of town.

These beehives have much of Brooklet buzzing, in more ways than one. The owner says he isn’t sure how his long-time hobby turned into a city zoning violation almost overnight.

Ed DiNello checks on the hives that sit in his family’s backyard and another set of boxes sit in a neighbor’s yard down the street. He says he hasn’t hidden them since he started keeping bees to produce honey and lease out his bees for pollenation.

“The city’s known about our bees the whole time we’ve had them because we’ve politely asked them not to spray this section of road,” said DiNello.

He says the city’s traditionally skipped the 40 plus feet along their property so they don’t poison these insects. Then last week, they got a letter that said the city wouldn’t skip over them anymore. When they contacted the city to object, they got another letter.

“It went, in just a matter of days, from “cover your bees” to “get out of Brooklet”,” said Hannah DiNello.

The letter says the DiNello’s are running an agricultural business from their home, which the neighborhood is not zoned for. Ed says the only part of their bee business in the city is these boxes and bills and invoices that come in the mail. The says they process their honey outside the city and sell it in local stores.

They’ll take their concerns to city council on Thursday.

The Georgia General Assembly recognizes the importance of honey bees and has adopted several statutes to protect beekeepers.

The Official Code of Georgia prohibits local governments from prohibiting beekeeping.

Local zoning boards are, however, able to adopt ordinances limiting beekeeping to lots with a minimum square footage or lots away from schools.

The Georgia Department of Agriculture recommends checking with your local zoning office to see if there is a maximum number of hives that can be maintained in your neighborhood.

Copyright 2019 WTOC. All rights reserved.