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Codes & Compliance

Newport News, Va

Sec. 45-518. - Accessory uses and structures customarily incidental to residential uses.

The following shall be deemed accessory:


Facilities for keeping small domesticated animals for household non-commercial use only. Such animals shall not be commercially raised or sold and kennels are prohibited. Beehives maintained as a hobby for household use and non-commercial purposes shall be allowed provided the following criteria are met:


No beehive may be placed or allowed to remain closer than three (3) feet from an adjoining property line.


No beehive may be placed or allowed to remain closer than fifty (50) feet from any house, dwelling unit, apartment, hotel, motel, office, commercial establishment, church or school with the exception of the owner's dwelling.


No beehive may be maintained unless the owner thereof provides for or has access to an accessible and adequate water supply within fifty (50) feet of each beehive.


The incidental keeping of non-transient boarders or lodgers by the owner-resident family when only one (1) family occupies the dwelling; provided, the number of such boarders or lodgers shall not exceed two (2) persons.


A swimming pool for the use of occupants of the premises or for guests for whom no admission or membership fee is charged.


Yorktown, VA

Sec. 24.1-271. Accessory uses permitted in conjunction with residential uses.

The following accessory uses shall be permitted in conjunction with residential uses. No accessory use, activity or structure, except fences, shall be constructed or conducted until the principal use of the lot has commenced, or the construction of the principal building/structure has commenced and is thereafter diligently and continuously pursued to completion. Land uses not listed in this section and not deemed similar to a listed use pursuant to subsection (q) shall be deemed not allowed as residential accessory uses:

(g) Beekeeping provided no beehive is closer than fifty feet (50’) to any dwelling, school or church establishment and that the owner provides a supply of water for the bees within fifty feet (50') of the hive.


Poquoson, VA



Section 1-17. - Keeping of farm animals.
(a) Farm animals are defined as animals typically kept on farms (e.g. horses, cattle, sheep, goats, swine, poultry, and bees) for productive uses or commodities such as eggs, meat, milk or wool. Up to two farm animals smaller than 300 pounds, excluding roosters and goats, which are not kept for commercial or productive use, may be kept in single-family residential areas without a use permit. All other farm animals may be kept in the city, subject to obtaining a use permit and subject to the following conditions:

   (1) Farm animals will be allowed only in conservation districts and in single-family residential districts. They will not be allowed in any other districts.

   (5) The following shall apply to beekeeping: 
        a. In no case shall a hive be placed closer than three feet from a property line. 
        b. A beekeeper who places hives less than 25 feet from a property line, with the entrance facing said property line, shall do so only if there is a barrier between the hive and the property line, or if the hive is elevated with its entrance no less than six feet above the ground. Barriers should be of sufficient density, length, and height to establish bee flyways six feet or higher above ground level at the property line and may include dense vegetation, an accessory structure, or a privacy fence. 
        c. Beekeepers shall maintain a water source within 50 feet of a hive or less than one-half the distance to the nearest unnatural source of water which is not on their property, whichever is closest. Unnatural sources of water include swimming pools and pet or livestock watering receptacles. 
        d. The public works department shall maintain a list of contact information for beekeepers who wish to be notified of insect control measures performed by government entities which are harmful to bees. Listed beekeepers shall be notified at least 48 hours prior to aerial application of control measures. The public works department shall exercise prudence near known hive locations when performing ground-based control measures. 
        e. In cases where beehives are located more than 40 feet from a public right-of-way, enforcement of beekeeping regulations shall only be initiated based on complaints of an affected adjacent property owner. 


(b) All use permits for the keeping of farm animals shall be issued for a period of one year from January 1 to December 31. All use permits shall be subject to revocation upon violation of any of the conditions set forth in the permit. The grant of a use permit shall not vest in the recipient an unqualified right of renewal for the permit. Renewal of all use permits issued shall be subject to the imposition of additional restrictions as land uses in the area change. Individuals wishing to keep farm animals shall make application for a use permit on such forms as the city manager may require. A nonrefundable fee of $15.00 shall accompany the initial application, with an additional $15.00 fee for annual renewals, if applicable. Prior to issuance of a use permit, the city manager shall notify all property owners adjacent to and across the street from the location at which the animals are proposed to be kept of the request for a permit and shall ensure that the applicant is capable of meeting all of the requirements imposed by this section. Each year, prior to renewal of the use permit, the city manager shall notify all adjacent property owners of the renewal and shall review the permit for compliance with all conditions imposed either by ordinance or by the terms of the permit itself. No fee shall be charged for the renewal permit, and adjacent property owners will not be notified, unless the number of the permitted animals has increased. Renewal permits for beekeeping are also not subject to fees or notifications to adjacent property owners. 


(c) For the keeping of farm animals, the zoning administrator shall establish appropriate setbacks and other stipulations as necessary to preserve the residential nature and tranquility of the neighborhood.


(Ord. No. 583, § 1, 4-23-1985; Ord. No. 1381, § 1, 2-28-2011; Ord. No. 1582, § 1, 1-8-2018)



Article III. - Use Types.

Sec. 3-3000. - Residential use types.

Urban beekeeping.\ Beekeeping on any residentially-zoned property. Beekeeping in the Rural Agricultural Conservation (RAC) District, and the Rural Residential (RR) District, shall not be considered urban beekeeping.


Article V 

SEC. 5-5002 Supplementary use regulations for residential use types

a. Urban Beekeeping. Urban beekeeping shall be subject to the following:

  1. Districts permitted. Urban beekeeping shall be permitted in the following zoning districts: Village center (VC), neighborhood conservation (NC), suburban estate (SE), suburban residential (SR), and only in conjunction with an occupied single family residence, and shall be subject to the standards set forth herein.

b. It shall be unlawful for any person to keep, place, or allow a beehive to remain:

  1. Closer than ten feet to a public right-of-way or to the property line of adjoining property not owned by the person maintaining the beehive; or

  2. Closer than 30 feet to any structure other than the structure of the person maintaining the beehive.

c. All hives shall be oriented with the entrance facing away from the adjacent property or

   public right of way.

d. The hive and all related materials may only be located within the rear yard of the


e. For any beehive placed less than 10 feet above ground level and within 30 feet of any

    property line adjoining a residential property or public right-of-way, a barrier of 

   sufficient density to establish bee flyways above head height must separate the beehive

   from such property line or public right-of-way. The barrier may be constructed of

   fencing or evergreen vegetation or a combination of the two. The barrier must be no

   less than six feet in height and extend no less than ten feet in length on either side of


f. For any beehive located at least 10 feet above ground level the hive shall be located a

   minimum of 5 feet from the side of the structure and 30 feet from any structure other

   than a structure of the person maintaining the beehive.

g. The beekeeper shall conspicuously post a sign warning individuals of the presence of

    bees. This sign shall include the property owner's name and a telephone number at

    which the beekeeper can be reached in case of emergency.

h. Each beekeeper shall ensure that no wax comb or other material that might encourage

    robbing by other bees are left upon the grounds of the apiary lot. Such materials once

    removed from the site shall be handled and stored in sealed containers, or placed

    within a building or other insect-proof container.

i. Each beekeeper shall maintain his beekeeping equipment in good condition, including

    keeping the hives painted if they have been painted but are peeling or flaking, and

    securing unused equipment from weather, potential theft or vandalism and occupancy

    by swarms. It shall not be a defense to this section that a beekeeper’s unused 

    equipment attracted a swarm and that the beekeeper is not intentionally keeping bees.

j. No person is permitted to keep more than the following numbers of colonies on any lot,

   based upon the size or configuration of the apiary lot: 1. Two (2) colonies on lots one

   half (1/2) acre or smaller; 2. Four (4) colonies on lots larger than one half (1/2) acre but

   smaller than 3/4 acre; 3. Six (6) colonies on lots larger than 3/4 acre but smaller than

   one (1) acre; 4. Eight (8) colonies on lots of one (1) acre but smaller than five (5) acres;

   5. No restrictions for lots larger than five (5) acres.

k. If the beekeeper serves the community by removing a swarm or swarms of honey bees

    from locations where they are not desired, the beekeeper shall not be considered in

    violation of the portion of this ordinance limiting the number of colonies if he

    temporarily houses the swarm on the apiary lot in compliance with the standards of

    practice set out in this section for no more than 30 days from the date acquired.

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