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Mar Vista Beekeeping Pilot Program Initiative Takes Another Step Forward

MVCC Green, Outreach and PLUM Committees approve a motion to support urban beekeeping in Los Angeles.

Following an hour of discussions and deliberations over its feasibility study, the Mar Vista Community Council Green Committee, Outreach Committee and Planning and Land Use Management Committee approved a motion Wednesday night to support urban beekeeping in Los Angeles.

The motion will be presented to the MVCC Board of Directors at its next monthly meeting on November 8.

The initiative began back in May, when local residents approached the Green Committee about creating a feasibility study for a pilot beekeeping program in Mar Vista, similar to the recently-adopted Santa Monica beekeeping ordinance. The motion was passed unanimously and was approved by the MVCC the following month, where outreach began in earnest.

At the Mar Vista Farmers’ Market the committee collected 511 signatures in support of legalizing beekeeping in Mar Vista. Scores of people turned out to a free screening of The Vanishing of the Bees, and the Green Committee set up an online survey on the MVCC website that garnered 275 responses, with 81percent of those people supporting a pilot beekeeping project in Mar Vista. The MVCC also hand delivered a copy of the survey to 10,000 households with its quarterly newsletter. Between the survey and the petition over 3,000 people stated they were in favor of the pilot project.

The 34-page feasibility study, which was presented at Wednesday night’s meeting, also included a comparison survey of urban beekeeping cities throughout the country including Chicago, New York, Denver, Salt Lake City, San Francisco and Seattle.

The study also looked closely at Santa Monica’s beekeeping program and ultimately the committee chose to closely follow the Santa Monica model, which includes limiting the number of hives per home to two; placing the hives 5 feet from the property line and locating them 8 feet above the ground.

Following the outreach efforts, Outreach Committee Co-Chair Maritza Przekop said that the council wanted to take a “conservative approach,” to the pilot project. The greatest number of “yes” responses appeared to come from the District 5 area of Mar Vista, just south of Venice Boulevard with 25 homes all wanting to be involved in the pilot, and the committee initially suggested this should be the area to start the pilot project.

However, after some discussion, the committee agreed that the motion should not be Mar Vista specific. MVCC Green Committee Co-Chair Sherri Akers said that the council should urge the City of Los Angeles to adopt an urban beekeeping program and Mar Vista should simply be a part of that program.

“Given the [positive] response we’ve seen in Mar Vista, we can be the catalyst to get the city to embrace the program but it shouldn’t be limited to us,” she said. She added that it was important to network with other community councils that have also expressed interest in being part of a pilot program.

MVCC Chair Albert Olson agreed, noting that there’s currently a similar survey being undertaken in Del Rey.  

The final motion, which was approved unanimously (and to great applause), states:

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.

*Chelsea and Rob McFarland will be presenting a session on urban beekeeping on Sunday at the .

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What do you think of an urban beekeeping project in Mar Vista? Let us know in the comments section, below.

 

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