Beekeeping Laws Can Vary By Zip Code, published November first on SFGate.com and in print by Meredith May, details patchwork of Bay Area beekeeping regulation, highlighting 2012 ACBA President Russel Shaffer’s legal frustration with the city of Fremont. Russel eventually got his permit, but only after a lengthy battle between neighbors and the city and after suffering an enormous expense (when compared to the start-up costs of beekeeping).
Russel Shaffer, president of the Alameda County Beekeepers Association, had had two hives in his Fremont backyard for four years when an animal control officer knocked on his door in 2010.
“They weren’t hidden; my neighbors were aware of them,” Shaffer said.
He was written up for not having a “fancier’s permit” and for not acquiring neighborhood approval for his bees. He immediately applied for the permit, but his application was denied two weeks later because one of his four neighbors wanted his hives removed.
After three more hearings at Shaffer’s request, and paying a $600 fine, a Superior Court judge allowed Shaffer to keep his bees because there was no evidence anyone had been stung in four years.
“It was a 13-month ordeal,” Shaffer said. “All of which could have been avoided if I got the permit first.”
- In California: Beekeepers are required to to register with their county.
- San Francisco: No specific permits required.
- Palo Alto: Beekeepers are required to acquire written permission from immediate neighbors
- Yolo County (unincorporated): It is illegal to have “exotic animals not used in circuses or carnivals.”
- Foster City: Beekeeping is prohibited.
- San Jose: Beekeepers must apply for a permit.
- Code: http://www.sanjoseanimals.com/pdf/SJMC7.09.pdf
- Fines: http://www.sanjoseca.gov/Clerk/CouncilDocs/FinesSched.pdf
- Santa Clara County (unincorporated): Apiaries must be 1,000 feet from any “residence, church, school, public building, corral or water area.
- Los Gatos: Apiaries must be 1,000 feet from any “residence, church, school, public building, corral or water area.
- Marin County: Beekeeping regulation can vary by street within the same town.
- San Rafael: Permit required.
- Tiburon: Permit required.
- Fairfax: Permit required.
- Sausalito: Permit required.
- Novato: Allows non-commercial backyard hives.
- Mill Valley: “Backyard Beekeeping” is prohibited.
- Larkspur: No beekeeping regulations.
- San Anselmo: No beekeeping regulations.
- Corte Madera: Beekeeping regulation varries by neighborhood.
Keeping this in mind, this knowledge base is designed to collect regulatory information with regard to beekeeping within municipalities in Northern California, if you have information to add to this database please submit it here.