West University makes progress on beekeeping, launches traffic safety study

West University Place city hall
West University Place city council approved the first reading of a beekeeping ordinance and a contract for a speed and safety study. (Hunter Marrow | Community Impact)

West University Place city council approved the first reading of a beekeeping ordinance and a contract for a speed and safety study. (Hunter Marrow | Community Impact)

West University Place City Council took up questions measures to address beekeeping and traffic safety at its Feb. 10 meeting.

Beekeeping

An ordinance setting rules for beekeepers received unanimous approval after some revisions, but the item will need to be voted on at a second reading at the next council meeting before it can be adopted.


The ordinance would make way for requirements that follow industry standards and would maintain safe beekeeping practices, according to a city staff report to the council. The approval comes after a slew of council workshops and meetings since June to work out the details of the ordinance.

Included is language requiring a 10-foot setback for a hive’s location in relation to the owner’s property line. A hive may not be located in a front yard, nor on a side yard setback, under an addendum to the ordinance recommended by Mayor Pro Tem Kevin Trautner during the discussion.


However, that setback can be waived, according to the ordinance, if a beekeeper obtains the written consent of the current neighbor next to the property line in question and such written consent is on file with the city.

Another amendment to the ordinance added would allow a neighbor to revoke their consent should an issue arise with their beekeeping neighbor. The concern was first raised by Council Member Lauri Lankford during the Feb. 10 meeting. Trautner agreed.

“If at a later time the bees cause a problem, the neighbor should be able to revoke that consent,” Trautner said. “It allows some flexibility.”

Speed and safety study

Traffic Engineers Inc. will spend about a year collecting data across all city streets, creating an assessment on baseline conditions and a detailed safety study, making recommendations and developing tools for improving street safety, and going over implementation strategies and submitting a final report to the city.

The council approved a base contract of $63,828, with a not-to-exceed amount of $70,000. The amount budgeted by the city for study and implementation of the safety recommendations is $150,000.

Speed data, crash data, traffic severity and other factors will be analyzed during the study, according to testimony during the Feb. 10 meeting.

No official action has been made regarding speed limits in West University Place, though according to a staff report to the council, the study could reveal that safety conditions in the city require a speed limit reduction from the current standard of 30 mph.
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