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Panel reviews changes on bees, churches
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Forsyth County News


Forsyth County’s planning board discussed changes this week to the unified development code that could alter the regulation of local beekeeping and the definition of a church.

The board took no action on the items, which were among the topics of Tuesday night’s work session. The board likely will make its recommendations to the county commission March 27.

While she does think beekeeping should be allowed in all of the county’s residential zoning districts, planning board member Pam Bowman also said Tuesday she felt it should be recommended that those who have them follow best beekeeping practices.

“I just don’t want us to be in the bee enforcement business and I think that people when they have a complaint, if they have a complaint, need to call the extension service, not the department of planning and development,” Bowman said.

“I don’t know that we can put anything like that in the UDC because … I just think we can’t.”

Joe Moses, who represents District 5 on the board, suggested making a motion at next week’s meeting recommending that beekeepers adhere to the best beekeeping practices established by the Forsyth County Beekeepers Club.

“The beekeepers are the ones that know more about bees than anybody in the government, and this also keeps the government from being bigger and getting itself involved in people’s lives,” Moses said.

He added that he thinks members of the organization would be happy to help others who have problems or questions about beekeeping.

Planning board member H. Craig Nolen questioned whether the measure would put the county in the position of regulating the best beekeeping practices.

The issue of beekeeping came up last year after Nicholas Weaver received a notice from county code enforcement that his hives were a violation. 

Weaver appealed the issue through the county’s chain of command, contending that honeybees are not livestock.

In its discussion of modifications to the definition of a church in the code, the planning board considered alterations that include using the phrase “place of worship” in place of “church.”

Moses presented a possible definition found by Sharon Farrell, interim senior planner.

It would define a place of worship as “a building together with its accessory buildings and use where persons regularly assemble for religious purposes and related social events and which building together with its accessory buildings and uses is maintained and controlled by a religious body or organization organized to sustain religious ceremonies and purposes.”

Also during its work session Tuesday night, the planning board discussed modifications to accessory structure regulations and an amendment for new design overlay districts.

It also reviewed a request by Happy Dogs Play and Stay for a conditional use permit and a rezoning request by Charles S. McGlamery.