Many years ago our state legislators did some research and designated the honeybee the official insect of the state of Georgia. Not just because it is the only insect that makes food that man can eat (honey), but more importantly because of the honeybee’s essential use to the state’s agricultural industry and ecosystem. Honeybees alone pollinate 80 percent of the fruits and vegetables we eat and most of the flowers we see.
Beekeeping in Forsyth County is not addressed in the county’s residential zoning regulations of the Unified Development Code (UDC). Since the county’s UDC does not regulate this issue it is up to the discretion of the Planning and Development Director of the Forsyth County Planning and Zoning Department. Essentially, this gentleman’s recent decision may have the domino effect of evicting beekeeping from all Forsyth residential neighborhoods. Would that make the honeybee the official insect of the state, except for these neighborhoods?
A decision was made on a possible regulation and it resulted in enough of an uproar the actual regulation will be publicly discussed. I believe this is the way government is supposed to work.
Commissioner Pete Amos heard enough county residents were in disagreement with this potential ‘new law’ that he decided this issue needed to be pursued. Mr. Amos came to the Forsyth Beekeepers Club monthly meeting Oct. 27 and indicated to the club that he would like our ‘expert’ assistance in becoming educated about honeybees and writing the appropriate, reasonable ordinance regarding beekeeping in Forsyth residential neighborhoods.
I believe at this time the ‘eviction’ of honeybees from neighborhoods has been put on ‘hold’ until the county commissioners pass a related ordinance that does not conflict with existing state regulations.
The Forsyth Beekeepers Club members will do our best to provide the commissioners with a fair and balanced input toward writing the appropriate regulation regarding beekeeping in Forsyth County. Thanks to Commissioner Amos for including us in that process.
Marc Conlyn, president