Salisbury Prepares For Possibility of the Birds and the Bees in - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Salisbury Prepares For Possibility of the Birds and the Bees in Neighborhoods

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SALISBURY, Md.- There are many towns and cities on Delmarva that allow chickens in the backyard, but Salisbury isn't one of them. There are also fifty members of the Salisbury Beekeeping Club, but none of them practice their hobby in city limits. But two proposed ordinances may soon allow bees and chickens in a backyard near you.

The proposed ordinances deal with two separate issues. The first would allow chickens in the city of Salisbury for the first time in backyards. The second would regulate beehives in people's yards. But both have their problems. With chickens, some people think that they will just cause a ruckus and a smell. And some are worried that more hives in backyards could mean an up tick in stings throughout the city.

While an entire city where everyone wears beekeeping jackets is quite the mental image, beekeeper Oliver Collins with "Bees on the Move" in Vienna says the benefits of the bees to Salisbury's ecology far outweigh the concerns.

"Things need to be pollinated, plants and things that grow need to be pollinated if you want to reproduce them. If you want flowers to come back, if you want to have good seed," said Collins.

But because bees do sting, Collins said it should be strictly enforced how many hives there are in a yard and where they are placed.

"You need to respect your neighbors.  You've gotta watch out for kids playgrounds and does the neighbor have a lot of kids because they might be running around and kick the hive over or something like that." said Collins, also telling us that giving the neighbors a jar of honey just might sweeten the deal in some spots if they are concerned.

Another ordinance being proposed would allow homeowners to keep chickens in their backyard, limiting them to a maximum of six chickens per property. No roosters would be allowed, and the chickens would be kept in a pen in the backyard. Chip Dibbern told WBOC it shouldn't be an issue, as long as the rules are enforced. But some are not so optimistic.

"Keep it to a relatively small number and if they're kept in the back yard rather than the front yard or something like that probably wouldn't be too offensive," said Dibbern.

"I didn't move into a neighborhood like this or in close confines to hear chickens in the morning," remarked nearby neighbor Myra Bates.

City Council president Jake Day, the man writing up these two ordinances, said the whole idea behind both of them is promoting urban agriculture in Wicomico County, which he believes is the strongest agricultural county in the state of Maryland.

For beekeepers, some of the proposed regulations are as follows:

The maximum number of hives on a property is five, as long as the property is larger than half an acre.

All hives must be at least ten feet from property lines.

All hives must have the owner's name, address, and phone number clearly marked.

And beekeepers must provide water for the bees from the beginning of March to the end of October, and ensure the placement of the hives is clear enough for the bees to get into the air.

For chickens, as mentioned, no more than six hens can be kept in a backyard, and that's with a pen and no roosters.

Both the hives and the chicken pens must be registered with the Maryland Department of Agriculture.

Votes on both ordinances are expected to come before the city council in September.  A petition to allow the chickens in Salisbury at this link already has more than 120 supporters.

 

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