Beekeeping gets a break in (part of) Burnsville

Beekeeping is getting a break in Burnsville — or a least its southwest corner.

A majority of City Council members agreed at a March 14 work session to allow beekeeping in semirural southwest Burnsville on the large lots zoned R1A (one-family rural residential).

City staffers sought council direction on beekeeping so they can address the topic in an ordinance. The ordinance is needed in conjunction with the city’s 2016 adoption of the International Property Maintenance Code, according to Community Development Director Jenni Faulkner.

The city code it replaced prohibited the keeping of insects and specifically included bees.

Council members agreed at a January 2013 work session that they wouldn’t allow beekeeping on lots zoned R1 (single-family residential). The discussion was spurred by a citizen request to keep bees. The council was open to allowing beekeeping in southwest Burnsville, but because that wouldn’t have helped the person in question, the matter was dropped.

Beekeeping is still unsuited for the smaller R1 lots with “close proximity” to neighbors, Mayor Elizabeth Kautz said.

But all council members except Bill Coughlin said they’re willing to allow it on R1A lots.

“I’m for allowing it, and I’m allergic to bees,” Council Member Cara Schulz said. An ordinance will come before the council for approval.

Faulkner said the city gets about one request a year, the last coming from southwest Burnsville.