I don't usually have much time to read the forums, but this was brought to my attention. I am the president of the 2 Cs and a Bee Beekeepers Assoc. to which Mr. Nale belongs. I thank you each for your support and would like to let you know what has transpired up to this point. Mr. Nale and his sons came to our beginner beekeeping classes and multiple meetings prior to actually getting bees. He was advised to check local ordinances and zoning before hand. This he did and has a sworn statement from the borough manager at the time to that effect. This person is now a county commisioner. He had the bees on the property for about three years with no apparent complaints. He maintained a water source right by the bees and surrounded the bees with shrubbery making the bees fly up out of the line of travel of anyone close by. His bees were well maintained.
This July he was approached by the local codes enforcement officer saying there was a complaint and he was going to have to move his bees out of the borough. He tried to reason with them but it did not work. They offered him an alternate location outside the borough which he refused, as he felt there was no reason he should have to move them.
At this time they issued a citation under a property maintainence code.
607. Infestation, Prevention and Correction
1. Grounds, buildings and structures shall be maintained free of insect, vermin and rodent harborage and infestation.
The proposed fine at the time was $1000 a day and/or 30 days in jail for each day he was in noncompliance. That evening, Mr. Nale and his son, along with myself and eight other beekeepers went to the local borough council meeting. We presented a packet of informational material to each council member on the value of honeybees and various other educational handouts on beekeeping. Mr Nale and his sone addressed the council and ask them to consider this. They would not let me speak on behalf of Mr. Nale or beekeeping as I was not a resident of the borough. After the meeting we met with the council president and a few of the other council members privately. Many phone calls and private meetings were held, though they seemed sympathetic, the matter proceeded. We went to the next meeting and tried to get them to listen to reason but to no avail. They decided to turn the matter over to the magistrate.
After the hearing date and location was changed three times the hearing was held on the 20th of November at 3PM. The county commisioner who was to speak for Mr. Nale had a death in the family and could not show up and they would not accept her written statement into evidence. Dennis VanEngeldorp , Acting Chief Apiarist for the state of Pennslyvania was to attend but was involed in a car accident and could not attend. I did attend and attempted to testify in his behalf but was severely limited as to what I could get in by the format of a hearing. The magistrate made his ruling based on the definitions of the wording of the ordinance. He looked up infestation and it can be read as ,"presence". and harborage can be read as "providing a safe place of refuge". Both of which we can not deny, the bees are present and are provided a safe place of refuge. He fined Mr. Nale $50 and he must adhere to the order. He also advised him on his right to appeal. This is where it stands as of now. I am waiting on Mr. Nale to make a decision on how he wishes to proceed, He is the only beekeeper we have who has bees in that borough. I realize this is not fair or reasonable. But we must deal with reality as it presents itself. We are not done here, just trying to work within the system. We have been offered whatever help they can provide by the Pa State Beekeepers Assoc., Maryann Frazier from Penn State, Dennis Van Engeldorp, and many others. Thank you for your support.