Ypsilanti Citizen News ]]>

City Council approves all mayor's re-appointments
By Dan DuChene
Jun. 16, 2010   ·   3:42 a.m.

Jone Coleman, president of downtown business LookInTheAttic, shares his thoughts with City Council about the discussion and procedure taken to pass mayoral re-appointments, which he was being considered for the Downtown Development Authority.

After much procedure, Ypsilanti City Council approved six mayoral re-appointments to city boards and committees Tuesday, including the two postponed from earlier...read more

Council postpones two reappointments
By Mark Tower
Jun. 4, 2010   ·   4:57 p.m.

Two of Ypsilanti's volunteer board members were not reappointed on schedule Tuesday night, owing to a 4-2 vote by City Council to delay the appointments until...read more

Downtown properties to be rehabilitated
By Mark Tower
Jun. 4, 2010   ·   10:40 a.m.

The three properties located at 120, 122 and 124 West Michigan Avenue in downtown Ypsilanti will soon be rebuilt into commercial and office space and loft apartments, thanks to a planned $1.7 million investment by developers.

Three recently-vacated properties in downtown Ypsilanti, two of them condemned, will soon be renovated owing to recent purchase by a local development company and...read more

Ypsilanti Township authorizes litigation against Liberty Square
By Mark Tower
May. 28, 2010   ·   6:53 p.m.

Many of the homes in the Liberty Square complex on Grove Street in Ypsilanti Township are already boarded and ready for foreclosure sale. All 151 units, some of which are still occupied, will be condemned Tuesday, Ypsilanti Township has resolved.

Residents living in the Liberty Square complex of townhouses will see a sticker appear on their homes Tuesday, when the Ypsilanti Township Building Department places...read more

Ford plant granted tax exemption by township
By Mark Tower
May. 24, 2010   ·   5:44 p.m.

Ford Motor Company's Rawsonville Plan, located at the intersection of Textile and Bridge Roads in Ypsilanti Township, will soon be the new home for production of Ford's Electric Focus batteries, formerly produced in Mexico.

New machines and equipment will soon be wheeled into Ford's Rawsonville Plant in Ypsilanti Township as it begins manufacturing a line of batteries for the new global...read more

Honey bee decision postponed

Ypsilanti resident and local hobbyist bee-keeper Lisa Bashert addresses City Council Tuesday during their deliberation on keeping bees in the city. The matter was postponed pending changes in the language. Photo by Dan DuChene

Ypsilanti resident and local hobbyist bee-keeper Lisa Bashert addresses City Council Tuesday during their deliberation on keeping bees in the city. The matter was postponed pending changes in the language.

Ypsilanti City Council to consider revised ordinance next month

By Dan DuChene
Oct. 23, 2009    ·    6:09 a.m.

City Council voted to postpone a decision on an ordinance that would allow bee-keeping in Ypsilanti Tuesday night.

In a 6-1 decision, with Councilmember Brian Robb, D-Ward 3, voting against, the measure was postponed while changes are made to the ordinance.

During discussion, Councilmember Peter Murdock, D-Ward 3, pointed out the proposed ordinance had no requirement for residents to apply for a permit, as an ordinance passed in July had, which permitted keeping up to four chickens in the city.

“We could have thousands of bee hives and not know it,” Murdock said.

The proposed ordinance places a two-hive limit on any parcel of land in the city. It also requires the resident to maintain a 6-foot-tall fence, wall or vegetation growth around a property that has a hive within 25 feet of a property line. The hive must bee 10 feet away from the wall or fence.

The vertical requirement of the wall or fence establishes a “flyway” and forces bees leaving the property to do so on an upward trajectory. It was brought up that the height requirement of the fences could restrict bee-keeping in historic districts due to limitations on fence height.

The ordinance also requires residents keeping bees to maintain a water source for the insects, so the bees don’t look to neighboring pools or bird baths for their water.

Finally, if a hive becomes more aggressive and stings without provocation, then the resident is required to provide the hive with a new queen. The new queen must be a domesticated European honey bee and “bred for gentleness and non-swarming characteristics.”

Murdock also asked about multi-family parcels in the city with the two-hive limit. He said he was concerned there could be confusion if more than one family lived on one property.

Assistant City Attorney Karl Barr said the land-owner would be held accountable if more than two hives are kept on one parcel.

Mayor Pro-Tem Trudy Swanson, D-Ward 1, brought up a question about liability if someone were to be stung. She asked if the city could be sued if someone were to be stung by bees kept under the ordinance.

“Someone could try and sue the city,” Barr said. “I do not believe the city would face any liability.”

Barr also noted that it would be difficult to distinguish if a sting occurred from a bee kept under the ordinance, or by a wild bee in nature.

The issue of keeping bees arose after the city voted to allow residents the ability to apply for a permit to keep chickens. Soon thereafter, Ypsilanti resident Lisa Bashert was fined for keeping bees in her backyard.

Bashert paid the fine, but councilmembers and staff then received several letters asking the city to reconsider its stance against keeping bees in Ypsilanti. She said she didn’t know she was violating the law when she began her bee-keeping hobby. The matter was pushed even further when several residents spoke to City Council about the topic at a meeting in August.

Since the ordinance was passed this summer allowing chickens, seven applications have been filed with the city asking for permits.

Bashert, who still has one active bee hive on her property, gave a statement Tuesday and answered questions from City Council. She said the European honey bee is a very docile breed of bee, and will only sting if heavily provoked. She also said they only consume pollen and nectar, and won’t swarm an empty pop can at a picnic.

Citing world-wide bee hive collapse in recent years, she said hobbyist bee-keepers have more stable colonies than commercial enterprises due to the diversity of chemical-free plants in urban environments and the attention a hobbyist can give to fewer hives.

Councilmember Lois Richardson, D-Ward 1, disagreed with Bashert’s comments on bee behavior. She said she has been stung by bees before, and she has seen them hovering around pop cans as well.

Councilmember Michael, D-Ward 2, responded to Richardson’s concerns. His statement was later backed up by Bashert after the meeting.

“It’s difficult sometimes to tell the difference between a European honey bee and a yellow jacket,” Bodary said.

Richardson said, “I do know the difference between a honey bee and a yellow jacket.”

Finally, Richardson motioned to postpone the decision. Swanson seconded the motion.

The matter will likely be discussed during City Council’s next meeting on Nov. 17. Barr said if the changes made to the ordinance prove to require it, the wording will have to be re-published before City Council can consider it. This could push the discussion back even later.

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