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What happened to allowing residents to do beekeeping in Brookfield? Did aldermen vote it down?

Answer: They did not — at least not yet.

The city’s Legislative & Licensing Committee has continued to comb over the subject. They last met and discussed backyard beekeeping June 6, at which time aldermen debated a number of specifics pertaining to a potential ordinance.

That included the lot size on which hives would be allowed, the number of hives to be allowed, and whether residents who want bees would be required to get permission from their neighbors.

The committee eventually directed city of Brookfield Assistant City Attorney Julie Aquavia to draft an ordinance that would allow lots of 1/2 acre to an acre in size to have two hives with a split. A half-acre lot would be the smallest on which beekeeping is allowed and residents would not be required to get permission from their neighbors.


Of course, there’s always a “however.”

Aquavia said the subject of gaining permission is the most complicated part of the topic at the moment.

“The big question is having neighbor permission and whether we could allow a neighbor to stop someone from getting a permit because of health reasons,” Aquavia said. “If the neighbor says, ‘No, I’ve got health reasons,’ would they be able to stop the permit by presenting us with health information?”

The complexity of the issue stems largely from whether the city would be committing a violation of health privacy laws by requiring residents to divulge medical information in order to protest a neighbor’s beekeeping.

“It’s going to be a sticky issue and an in-depth issue,” Aquavia said.

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