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Now it is bees, too

By Staff | Aug 25, 2019

Before the meeting last Monday night, Aug. 19, members of the City Council and the general public were able to take a tour of the completed $7.5 million renovations project at the wastewater treatment plant.

Chickens and ducks are not the only animals people want to keep in their yards in the city of Blue Earth.

Now it is bees, too.

Two people were at the meeting who spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting to ask the council about beekeeping in the city.

“I guess bees are to be considered farm animals, too,” said Jackie Drew. “If they are a farm animal, and you are considering allowing chickens and ducks in the city, or to not allow them, so maybe this is a good time to talk about bees being kept in the city.”

She added she looked around at other cities regulations and bees are often not mentioned one way or another.

Cindy Lyon, who keeps bees at her rural Blue Earth home, agreed.

“I belong to three beekeeping clubs in the area, and I checked with the members and quite a few say they don’t have it outlawed or permitted in their towns,” Lyon said.

The council discussed theissue, including how the neighbors of the places with beehives would feel if there were lots of bees in their yards.

“There can be thousands of bees in a hive, but I would only have a few in my yard,” Lyon said. “With a fence around the hive, the bees would go up first before heading out up to three miles away.”

And, it is possible people with gardens would appreciate having their flowers and vegetables pollinated, it was pointed out.

One item brought up at the meeting was the fact keeping bees in the city might not be possible anyway, because the city sprays for mosquitoes during the summer.

City administrator Tim Ibisch had a suggestion.

“I thought about that issue, and if someone in the city wants to keep bees, we could allow them to do it out at Steinberg Park, where we don’t spray for mosquitoes,” he said.

In the end the council agreed to add bees to the discussion at the Planning Commission as they study the need for a change in the farm animal ordinance.

In other business at the meeting, the council:

Gave their blessing to a remodeling project at St. Luke’s Lutheran Care Center.

The project involves turning one wing, which has been used for staff offices, into eight 1-bedroom senior living apartments.

St. Luke’s staff was at the meeting to ask for the council’s vote of support for the project.

“St. Luke’s is applying for a USDA loan for the project,” Blue Earth Economic Development specialist Mary Kennedy said. “As part of the application, they need to show support from the community for the project.”

The council quickly and unanimously passed a motion for support for the proposed new addition to St. Luke’s.

Voted to proceed with an ordinance for the sale of a Golden Spike Business Park lot to Thriving Acres Seeds. This was done after the second reading of the ordinance which is how the city sells land.

City attorney David Frundt said they are still about a month out from the actual sale, as the ordinance needs to be published twice and then they can proceed with the closing.

The lot is being sold at a price of $48,700.

Later on in the meeting the council discussed a Tax Increment Finance District (TIF) for the property.

Voted to authorize a variance for a fence to put in a backyard on Kings Drive in Blue Earth. It had been recommended to be approved by the Planning Commission.

Heard an update on the progress of action against a property at 906 Valley Drive.

Attorney Frundt said he has been in contact with the construction company and they say they are going to do the required upgrades on the property.

It was reported that no building permits had yet been applied for, however, and city staff was instructed to keep up-to-date with any progress.