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Leaf Blowers and Honeybees on Crowded Santa Monica City Council Agenda  

By Lookout Staff

December 14, 2010 -- The City Council Tuesday night is expected to raise the fines for using leaf blowers and allow residents of single family homes to raise honeybees.

In what is an unusually crowded agenda Tuesday the council will likely raise the minimum fine for those who violate Santa Monica's recently updated motorized leaf blower restrictions from $75 to $250.

Under the new law approved in September, the City's Office of Sustainability and the Environment (OSE) began issuing administrative citations to leaf blower operators, landscaping companies, property owners and/or property managers in October.

Under the proposed schedule, fines range from $250 to $1000, depending on the seriousness of the violation.

The council is also expected to take up a proposed ordinance that would allow backyard beekeeping on single-family residential properties. The new law would allow a maximum of two hives per property that must be registered with the City’s Animal Control Office.

The Ordinance includes hive placement, screening and management requirements to ensure that bees do not become a nuisance to people on adjacent properties, according to City staff.

"Honey bees are an integral part of the natural ecosystem and play a key role in providing food security for human populations," staff wrote in their report. "Through the pollination of fruit, vegetable, nut and seed crops, bees play a direct or indirect role in the production of about one-third of the human diet."

Staff cited a report by the American Beekeeping Federation, which estimates that in the past half century about 50 percent of the domestic honey bee population in California "has been killed or severely weakened due to environmental stresses and disease.

"Backyard urban beekeeping has been shown to increase, diversify and strengthen bee populations and supplement the pollination services provided by feral and commercial bee colonies," staff wrote in its report.

Cities that currently allow Backyard beekeeping include Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Minneapolis, New York, Portland, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Seattle, and in San Diego County.


"Honey bees are an integral part of the natural ecosystem and play a key role in providing food security for human populations." City Staff

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