Gwinnett beekeepers want more flexibility

Gwinnett’s backyard beekeepers are hoping for more flexibility for their hives from county leaders.

At a town hall meeting held by county commissioners Thursday, representatives of The Beekeeper’s Club of Gwinnett County dominated the audience and the microphone. They were concerned about rules put in place last year that require a rural designation and more land than the typical suburban home has in order to raise backyard bees.

The club has more than 250 members, president Derrick Fowler said. He has four hives, and has been a beekeeper for five years.

With an increased interest in urban farming and where food comes from, Fowler said, more people are becoming interested in beekeeping.

The county was also asked to loosen its regulations for backyard chickens. Suwanee resident Carol Hassell, who has four hens, said the cities are more progressive than the county is when it comes to such things.

“In this particular case, I would say we’re behind the curve,” she said to applause.

County commissioner John Heard said he is looking into changing the rules for bees, in particular.

The town hall meeting, held in Dacula, was the second of four the county will hold. The next town hall will be held at the Pinckneyville Park Community Recreation Center on April 23. It will be followed by one at the Hudgens Center for the Arts May 12. All meetings start at 7 p.m., with an open house that begins at 6:15 p.m.