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Beekeepers abuzz as city backs off bee ban
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A proposed beehive ban in the Olde Town Conyers area is now off the table after local beekeepers delivered stinging criticism of the plan.

Marvin Flanigan, the city’s planning chief, told the News this week that “the City of Conyers is not against beekeeping in the city.” That followed a complaint from the local East Metro Beekeepers Association.

Beekeeping was just one small item addressed in an upcoming large-scale rezoning of Olde Town under a “Downtown District,” as the News first reported February. The rezoning would encourage “urban farms,” but also would ban “raising animals” as possible nuisances. The two specific examples given by city planners at the annual Winter Retreat in January were chickens and bees.

Local business owner David Shipp, a frequent critic of Conyers rezoning efforts, is also a Beekeepers Association member who sells his honey under the Honey Mountain brand. In an email to city officials this week, Shipp noted that Georgia law apparently prohibits cities from banning beekeeping and urged them to work with beekeepers on good-neighbor ordinances.

“The East Metro Beekeepers Association that meets at the Extension Office understands that there are misconceptions about honey bees,” Shipp wrote. “They have formed a task force to address such issues as local zoning issues... It is hoped that the City Planning and Zoning Department can work together with the Cooperative Extension Office and East Metro Beekeepers to develop ordinances that will improve our environment and our community.” 

In response to the complaint, Flanigan told the News in an email, “it is not the intentions of the city to ban or not allow beekeeping in the proposed Downtown District. The Downtown Distirct will restrict the raising of farm animals, but not bees.”

The Olde Town rezoning is still in draft form. Flanigan previously told the News he expects it be ready for public meetings and review by various city authorities in April or May.