In what Mayor Vic DeLuca called "a stinging endorsement," the Maplewood Township Committee voted last night 4-1 to move ahead with developing an ordinance governing beekeeping in the township.
Meanwhile, the owner of the front-yard beehives that were causing some controversy on New England Road this summer has voluntarily removed them -- for now.
"Until the buzz dies down," said homeowner Bill Gallo.
The proposed ordinance would limit residents to no more than three honeybee hives per 1/4 acre size lot and regulate the proximity of hives to sidewalks and other houses.
Committeeman Jerry Ryan voted against the measure. "This is a bad idea, we should vote no," said Ryan, who had concerns about beekeeping in tightly packed residential areas.
Committeewoman India Larrier, who is president of the Board of Health, said that since the township , in the interest of fairness it should also allow the keeping of honeybees.
"We could rescind the chicken ordinance if that makes you feel better about the bees," said Ryan, who also voted against the former.
Committee member Marlon Brownlee questioned part of the draft language that would require beekeeping residents to regularly inspect their hives. "That's like the fox watching the henhouse," said Brownlee.
In other business, Appraisal Systems, Inc. (ASI), the company that will conduct the , will join officials to answer "live" email and phone questions from residents about the reassessment process, at the next regular Township Committee meeting on Sept. 18 (back at Maplewood Town Hall).
DeLuca said the committee wanted to reach residents who would not be able to attend the meeting. This is the township's first reassessment since the 2010 revaluation, which ASI also conducted. The reassessment will cost the township $60,000.
Also, an attorney for Ali Enterprise, Inc., the across from Columbia High School, told the committee that the developer is requesting approval from the Maplewood Board of Zoning Adjustment on Wednesday to begin construction this fall. The board could stipulate that construction be limited to summer, when school is out of session, which would delay the project's start until June of 2013.
Finally, the committee approved four ordinances on final passage, including one that requires businesses in Maplewood Village to have