James City County beekeepers trying to change zoning ordinance to keep their hives

Local News

JAMES CITY COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) — There’s a lot of buzz in James City County when it comes to bees and who can have them on their property. 

Residents in the county reached out to 10 On Your Side after concerns about losing the hives they’ve had for years.

Kadi Spruill says the benefits of the hives speak for themselves. 

“They are vital for the community,” said Spruill. “A lot of people go looking for local honey.”

Spruill started beekeeping two years ago to support the environment and to save the honeybee. 

“It originated here in Jamestown in 1622, which I think is really cool. So I think it should be something that’s celebrated and not as regulated,” Spruill said.

However, just last week, Spruill realized how regulated beekeeping is when her neighbor received a notice from the county. 

“A fellow beekeeper was told that after 7 years of keeping her bees on her property with no issue at all, that she had to remove her bees from her property because the county received a complaint.”

10 On Your Side side has learned from the Director of Community Development that a complaint was in fact filed by a resident. We are told  the county ordinance states where and where folks can and cannot keep livestock and other animals. In this case, the beekeeper was not supposed to have hives in the residential area where she housed them.

However, the President of the Williamsburg Beekeeping Association and Spruill say they want an amendment to the ordinance.

“Our main push right now is to add an addition that beekeeping is allowed in the zones in James City County, so we need that little amendment added and that’s all we are asking for,” Spruill said.

The ordinance regarding housing hives in James City County were written in 1989.

“Just like backyard chickens were put into motion and passed, I think public pressure never hurts.”

The Williamsburg Bee Association has gone before the board of supervisors with their ideas. 

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