Louisburg, NC: Where Libertarians Die

I recently posted about the city of Cary, NC allowing a small flock of hens within city limits.  The idea that keeping animals is a decision that should be up to the property owner not the local federales.  I was impressed with Cary, a notorious regulatory city, in allowing the chickens.  We’ll see if the ordinance passes.

It is in this spirit that I was discouraged to read a related issue in the town of Louisburg.  However, rather than granting the freedom, the city restricted it.

It seems that the town is working to prevent residents from keeping bees on their property and one woman is considering going to jail over it:

Louisburg, N.C. — Pat Walker admits she is in violation of a Louisburg ordinance against beekeeping, but she said the rule is unfair and unconstitutional.

A judge will decide on Tuesday whether Walker will go to jail for 20 days and be forced to give up her backyard beehives.
Walker said last March her family started keeping hundreds of honeybees.

“I enjoy sitting out here with them and watching them,” Walker said.

The family said the hobby has helped pollinate their garden and produces honey for them to use and sell. After two months of beekeeping, the Walkers received a hand-delivered letter from Louisburg police telling them they were in violation of a town ordinance.

Beehives have to be at least 75 feet from a neighbor’s property line. The ordinance passed in May after town staff received several complaints about the bees.

Now I suspect that there has to be limits on what a person can raise within town limits.  After all, we don’t want to allow folks to have a zoo in their backyard.  On the other hand, how do we get to the place where having a bee hive isn’t okay?

I often rail against regulation and government interference.  And I get that I come across as a bit irrational at times; never allowing for the fact that government can do good in some case.  I am discovering that as fascinated as I am by some of this political stuff, I am very interested in understanding how we know when the regulations we implement have gone too far and, perhaps, when they haven’t gone far enough.

2 responses to “Louisburg, NC: Where Libertarians Die

  1. Growing up, the father of one of my best friends kept bee hives as a hobby. It was great for us because we were kept with a fresh supply of honey each year that tasted far better than the store bought crap. The one issue with keeping bees is that they love water and if they find a water source nearby on someone else’s property, that water will have a lot of bees. It wasn’t uncommon to get accidentally stung walking around near their swimming pool, for example. In this day and age when so many kids seem to have allergies to bee stings, peanut butter, etc…. I’m not surprised to see these types of ordinances, even if it is unfortunate.
    A lot of it really comes down to the individual town and the size of the properties. In a rural community, a bee hive isn’t going to be much of a nuisance to neighbors (it may even be beneficial), but when you’ve got houses stacked virtually on top of each other, it may be a different story. Same issue with raising chickens. I don’t know how i’d feel if I was getting woken up every morning by a rooster next door.

    • A lot of it really comes down to the individual town and the size of the properties. In a rural community, a bee hive isn’t going to be much of a nuisance to neighbors (it may even be beneficial), but when you’ve got houses stacked virtually on top of each other, it may be a different story. Same issue with raising chickens. I don’t know how i’d feel if I was getting woken up every morning by a rooster next door.

      I agree.

      The towns need to be able to regulate the animals. Imagine someone keeping 5-10 hogs next door, or other equally nasty smelling animals. And yes, roosters too.

      Applying the right degree of regulation is fascinating.

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