After months of discussion and a recommendation by the township's Planning Commission, the Township Board decided it's OK to allow beekeeping in residential neighborhoods.
And instead of allowing it under a special land use permit that would cost an applicant close to $500, the board decided to dial down the restrictiveness and allow it as a general provision in the township ordinance.
The question buzzed to the forefront last year when Hank Nash, brother of Spring Lake Township Supervisor John Nash, approached the Planning Commission to present the question.
Nash, a substitute science teacher for Grand Haven Area Public Schools, launched a beekeeping venture last summer at his home in Strawberry Point, a neighborhood of cottages that date back to the early 1900s. The problem is that the township had nothing on the books that allows beekeeping in residential neighborhoods.
The new provision allows up to two colonies. Typical hives measure about 16-by-16-inches and stand 3 feet tall.
Nash said his approximately 130,000 bees produced close to 100 pounds of honey last season. He gives the sweet syrup away to friends and family members, and also sells some at the Health Hutt in Grand Haven.
Nash moved some of his hives offsite until the township made a decision on his request.
Nash said his bees can be beneficial for many residents. They will travel several miles in the spring, pollinating plants along the way. Honeybees are typically not aggressive toward humans, he said.
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