This past fall, the town of Parker voted to approve a town ordinance that allows for residents to keep and farm bees in their backyards. At the September 21st meeting, the Town Council adopted the new rules in a unanimous vote. Formerly outlawed, the newly adopted ordinance would allow residents to keep their own beehives.
Anyone who owns a piece of land that is 5,000 square feet or larger is now allowed to keep bees. Depending on the size of the property, the owner can have more bee colonies. The standard 5,000 square feet is only allowed up to two colonies at a time. Some of the bigger lots, can have as many as four colonies. Properties that are 35 acres or bigger can have an unlimited amount of colonies as long as there is a 250-foot buffer between the colonies and the property line.
For those who support urban beekeeping, the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages. “If someone is a gardener, keeping bees is very beneficial for pollination,” said Diane Roth, chairwoman of Parker’s Cultural and Scientific Commission and wife of an avid beekeeper. “And you can have your own supply of raw honey. It has all kinds of healthy properties.”
Diane and her husband, Jeff, have been beekeeping on their 25 acres for years. She says that many residents also were doing so illegally because the law wasn’t well known. Roth was also a primary force when it came to the town of Parker’s consideration of changing the ordinance.
Before the ordinance was approved, many changes were required and some of the requirements that were in the original version were axed. One of the requirements that didn’t make it to the final version was the requirement of a solid fence around the hives to direct the bees upwards. Another axed rule was a requirement to have the colonies at least 10 feet, instead, a compromise of 5 feet was met.
“We didn’t want to be Big Brother and intrude on people — we just wanted to set some guidelines,” Officer Dawn Cashman with the Parker Police Department said of the ordinance this week. “This isn’t too restrictive, I don’t think.”
Overall, Parker’s ordinance is similar to neighboring Castle Rock’s ordinance. Castle Rock allows for up to two colonies and a buffer zone of 5 feet from neighboring properties.