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The Buzz on Bee Permits in Fairfax

City allowing hives due to resident requests, but only with a permit.

City allowing hives due to resident requests, but only with a permit.
City allowing hives due to resident requests, but only with a permit.

Release, City of Fairfax:

Residents interested in keeping honey bee hives on their property can apply for a Domestic Beekeeping Permit from the Community Development and Planning Department in Room 207 at City Hall.

Honey bees were previously regulated by the same standards as agricultural animals under the City Code which required hives be kept at least 100 feet from property lines, thereby eliminating the practice from all but the largest of residential parcels. After receiving requests from many citizens interested in keeping honey bees on their residential properties, a new Code chapter, Domestic Beekeeping, was drafted by staff and approved by City Council.

Under the new Code chapter, residentially zoned properties are allowed up to four beehives on their property based on the size  of the property:

  •  Larger than 5,000 square feet but smaller than ¼ acre: up to two (2) beehives
  • Larger than ¼ acre: up to four (4) beehives

Any person who wishes to keep bees in the City of Fairfax is required to obtain a permit prior to acquiring the honey bees. As part of the permit approval, the applicant must provide a plat showing the proposed location of the hives, signed affidavit of understanding of the code and best management practices for beekeeping and written permission from the owner of the property if the applicant is not the owner. There is also a one time $20 permit application fee.

For any questions regarding Domestic Beekeeping, please contact Kelly O'Brien in Community Development and Planning at 703.385.7805 or kelly.obrien@fairfaxva.gov. 

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