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Greenfield — More than a year after the idea was first proposed, the common council voted unanimously Tuesday night to allow beekeeping in the city. By doing so Greenfield joins such communities as Milwaukee, Wauwatosa and Butler to welcome bees.

Mayor Michael Neitzke said afterwards he hopes the new ordinance governing bees and beekeeping won't be "unduly restrictive." He said there had been an ordinance banning beekeeping, but it had not been enforced.

"I think everybody agrees beekeeping is good for the environment," the mayor said.

During discussion of the ordinance, Alderman Pam Akers said there were three changes since the ordinance was approved by the Board of Health, most prominent a provision requiring beekeepers to have a source of water on their property, most likely a birdbath.

"That might give some peace of mind to neighbors" with outdoor swimming pools or hot tubs, Akers said.

Andy Hemken, a Big Bend beekeeper who has helped several communities draft ordinances governing beekeeping, said thirsty bees may want to go farther from home.

"When you put water near the house, they won't go there," Hemken said of bees. "They prefer to travel 100 yards."

City Attorney Roger Pyzyk said the three changes incorporated into the ordinance "don't dramatically change the ordinance. It's basically the same ordinance, the changes are negligible."

If any problems rise from the water requirement or other aspects of the ordinance, Pyzyk added, "we can always come back in a year, and make changes if we need to."

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