The Mar Vista Community Council Board of Directors maintained a quorum Tuesday night and voted to approve the motion to in Los Angeles.
The motion was approved despite the fact that the council lost its chairman Albert Olson earlier in the evening after t.
While Board Member Maritza Przekop presented the motion, several of the board members continued to enter and exit the room, either to talk amongst themselves or to try and speak with Olson.
Acting Chair Sharon Commins stated that while put everyone in a “very difficult situation, we need to get through [the rest of the meeting] with grace and tact. We don’t abandon our agenda,” she said. “We have to carry on our public duty. We owe that to our stakeholders.”
Eventually, most board members returned to take a vote after a few heated comments from the public on the issue. Residents opposed to the pilot beekeeping program spoke of their concerns about the real medical dangers of being stung.
However, Backwards Beekeepers founder Kirk Anderson noted that Mar Vista has a thriving population of feral bees, and allowing beekeepers to step up and legally manage bees would only help the community.
Green Committee Co-Chair Sherri Akers also spoke about HoneyLove founders , who first brought the idea of a beekeeping pilot project to the council. She spoke of how the couple had personally worked to remove hives from public spaces and protect the community from feral bees.
Board member Kate Anderson said she respected the concerns about being stung but added that the six-month study by the council had seriously considered the issues at hand and had done its work.
Board Member Geoffrey Forgione also pointed out that is not advocating that the pilot program take place specifically in Mar Vista. Rather, the MVCC is advocating for the implementation of the program in Los Angeles.
Following the approval of the motion, several supporters dressed in black and yellow applauded the move as they waved yellow pom poms on sticks above their heads.
Chelsea McFarland told Patch she was grateful for the support of the MVCC Green Committee and the Backwards Beekeepers, saying, “This was a great night for Los Angeles beekeepers.”
Przekop, who headed up the outreach committee for the project told Patch she was happy that the motion passed but that "it's a very small step in a long process. I hope [the Los Angeles City Council] and other neighborhood councils support this, because this isn't going to happen just by Mar Vista supporting it."
Przekop added she was thrilled to be part of this grassroots movement and that the template created in Mar Vista for the beekeeping project is something that other communities can use in seeking support for the project.
The MVCC motion reads:
The committee reviewed over 150 articles on beekeeping, best practices, planning articles on Urban Agriculture, State, County and city beekeeping regulations to help in the evaluation of the recommendations and conclusions of the Beekeeping Feasibility Study. The committee also spoke to program directors in numerous cities where programs are in place.
The Feasibility Study concludes that there is a strong community interest in supporting beekeeping efforts and that doing so would result in positive changes that permit the healthy growth of honey bee colonies and increase the production and quality of fruits, vegetables and flowers in Mar Vista’s organic home gardens while providing a community service as a resource for the removal of feral (wild) hives. Research indicates that such a program would be cost neutral to the city of LA.
The MVCC Board therefore recommends the implementation of a Beekeeping Pilot Program in to test safety and develop best practices for future expansion. We urge the City of LA to adopt a policy that includes conditions relating to maintenance, location, registration and notification to assure for the safety of all residents, which may result in the continued preservation of quality of life and preservation of single-family residential districts.
Click on the PDF to the right to read the feasibility study in its entirety.