Beekeeping restrictions cause buzz in Montebello

Posted: Updated:

A new law in the village of Montebello is causing a buzz among beekeepers.

The village of Montebello passed and enacted a beekeeping law earlier this year that some say is too restrictive and makes it nearly impossible to keep honeybee hives.

Honeybees play an important role in pollinating flowers and crops, but colonies are disappearing at alarming rates. News 12 spoke with a Rockland County man who took up beekeeping as a hobby in Montebello only to be slapped with fines. Two years later, the village passed a law requiring anyone who keeps bees to limit the number of boxes they can use, put up massive barriers, pay hundreds on fees and put a lien on their property.

Oster says the law is more restrictive than that of New York City's beekeeping regulations, stating it is allowed in urban environments because of the benefits of having bees, including pollination and the production of honey.

Zev Oster says none of his neighbors had a problem with his bee hives, but because of the restrictions he moved his hives to a Rockland County-owned property. He has now put his property in Montebello up for sale.

Village attorney Warren Berbit says the village is not anti-beekeeping.

“We recognize bees are important, therefore we acted to allow beekeeping in the village in an intelligent and safe way,” Berbit said.

He also said he believes the village's law is less restrictive than some and was drafted with feedback and consultation from experts.

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