New Proposed Laws for Spokane County to Allow Beekeeping in Residential Neighborhoods

We've been making progress in the Spokane area when it comes to chicken laws. The City of Spokane Valley looks set to approve new laws allowing chickens in residential neighborhoods. The new ordinance will have it's final reading on March 22 and based on the tenor of the meeting earlier this week, it looks like it will be approved. Our group of chicken activists is currently meeting with Spokane County Commissioners to garner their support to change the laws in Spokane County. You can help the cause by emailing the commissioners and letting them know you'd like them to ask the Planning Department to take action - tmielke@spokanecounty.org , mrichard@spokanecounty.organd afrench@spokanecounty.org. Go here to join the Facebook group and stay up to date on the Spokane Chicken Revolution.

While the Spokane chicken revolution has been unfolding in a public way, the move to change beekeeping laws in Spokane County has been quietly progressing behind the scenes for over a year. 

Here are the current laws regarding beekeeping in the Spokane area:

In the City of Spokane, Beekeeping IS ALLOWED as an accessory use on single-family residence lots.  View the Ciity of Spokane Beekeeping Ordinance can be found here.

The City of Spokane Valley municipal code provides an even broader use for beekeeping - allowing up to 25 hives on a residential lot.

icon City of Spokane Valley - Residential Zone Permitted Uses

icon City of Spokane Valley - Supplemental Use Regulations for Residential Zones

icon City of Spokane Valley - Definition of Beekeeping

Beekeeping is currently not allowed in residential areas in unincorporated Spokane County. Apparently the current laws are problematic in a number of ways, and so for the last year local beekeepers have been working with the County to improve the ordinance. According to Jerry Tate, who is among Spokane's beekeeping experts, the new and improved ordinance will come up for its final reading in April, and it includes a provision allowing up to two boxes on residential lots. While I haven't seen the ordinance, like the other area ordinances, it probably requires that you have to take a class and be a certified beekeeping apprentice before you can keep bees, and you likely will have to register your boxes with the County.