Pleasanton City Council expected to vote 'yes' for backyard beekeeping

PLEASANTON, Calif. (KTVU) - Tuesday the Pleasanton City Council is expected to vote "yes" on backyard beekeeping, ending a ban that's been in place since the 1920's.

"This is one that's been on the books for a long time," said Planning Manager Adam Weinstein. "The city realizes it merits some change."

If approved, the Pleasanton ordinance would limit the number of hives and kind of bees.

"There's a recognition that agriculture and agricultural activities can be an integral part of our communities. That things like bees are important for our food production," Weinstein explained.

"Bees are actually very friendly," beekeeper Steve Gentry said as he inspected his backyard hive in Orinda. "It's like your cat, your dog. It's part of your family. So they're your girls after a while."

Gentry has been in the beekeeping business for 35 years. "You may not want to become a beekeeper. You may not care about bees, but you care about your food. You care a lot about your food," he said, explaining why bees are beneficial. "Good food needs pollinators. Without honeybees, we wouldn't have a third of fruits and vegetables on the table."

The backyard beekeeping issue is on Tuesday's Pleasanton City Council Agenda. Weinstein says he doesn't expect a run on permits, but there is interest.

"There's a greater awareness now of where we get our food from. There's a desire to eat locally. There's a desire to grow food locally," Weinstein said. "And I think beekeeping is part of that."

If you are interested in beekeeping or learning more about it, The Mt. Diablo Beekeeper's Association meets the second Thursday of every month.