Hampton beekeeper told to remove hives
Hampton Township hatched a hubbub when it stung beekeeper Joe Saber with an eviction notice.
Last month, the municipality instructed Saber — via letter — to remove the beehives in his Leroy Drive yard.
“I believe it's unfair. I don't think they bother anybody,” said Lisa McClelland, a mother of three who lives across the street from Saber.
“I'd like him to be able have the hives come back to his yard,” McClelland said.
Saber, 77, houses thousands of industrious Italian honeybees in two stacks of wooden boxes, painted green. Until recently, the hives sat among lush bushes in a corner of Saber's well-manicured, sloping yard. He painted oak leaves on the hives to help the bees.
“I decorated the front, so they'll recognize their hives,” said Saber, a member of the Pittsburgh Watercolor Society.
Reluctantly, Saber expected to relocate the hives last week to property in another municipality.
Saber made plans to move the hives after he got a June 20 letter from Hampton Township with instructions to remove the hives from his backyard within five days — or risk a citation — because the township's zoning ordinance lists bees among “farm animals” prohibited in residential districts.
“I'd like Hampton to not consider bees as farm animals,” said Saber, a Bell Atlantic retiree. “I would like them to allow beekeeping. I enjoy beekeeping.”
The soft-spoken Saber brought his bees' eviction notice to the June 26 meeting of Hampton Council.
“I ask for 30 days to comply,” Saber told council members.
Saber also asked Hampton Council to permit master beekeeper Stephen Repasky of Dormont, president of BurghBees, to speak at the meeting. BurghBees promotes urban beekeeping.
“I think you would be surprised to know how many beekeepers are in Hampton,” Repasky told Hampton Council. “Beekeeping is a growing urban trend. It makes communities healthier.”
Repasky, who serves on the legislative committee of the Pennsylvania State Beekeepers Association, offered to help Hampton officials draft an ordinance that would allow beekeeping in all areas of Hampton.
“It's a very safe hobby,” Repasky said.
Any undoing of the township's prohibition on neighborhood honeybees must begin with a petition, according to Marty Orban, land use administrator for Hampton Township.
“Somebody would have to petition Hampton Council to consider a change to the (zoning) ordinance,” Orban said.
Last month, Forest Hills Council voted to amend that borough's ordinance and permit Forest Hills residents to keep two hives of bees — at least 10 feet from their property lines — on lots of 2,000 or more square feet.
Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pine residents share ideas for township improvement
- Shaler moves forward with effort to update all ordinances
- Perry Highway work to continue into fall
- Ross officials tab Rickert as planning, zoning head
- Benedictine Sisters of Pittsburgh sell their crafts to make money for ministries
- Nature center barn in North Park to celebrate a century
- ‘Make Shop’ at Millvale Community Library helping children expand minds, skills
- Marshall-based SAE staff honored for e-zine efforts
- Elite dancers from Marshall school dominate at national event
- Two tie for first place in Shaler garden contest
- Ross youth relishes opportunity to play in All-American Games