This downtown zoning ordinance is a real buzzkill.

Urban beekeeping is prohibited under Title 21 for downtown business districts.

I can’t remember when exactly Anchorage added “The City of Lights and Flowers” to its list of monikers, and I’m not entirely sure why either. It sounds nice, but the lights part is questionable, especially considering our sign ordinance prohibiting large illuminated signage. However, I think the part about flowers is justified.

Every year, our city gardeners in the parks and recreation department provide an impressive and much-appreciated service of planting flowers and hanging baskets in downtown Anchorage – One question: Where are the bees?

Bees are amazing animals. They’re capable of traveling up to five miles from the hive searching for food; however, they typically don’t travel further than a mile, which puts nearly all the delicious nectar of Anchorage’s urban flowers out of range. Anchorage’s land use regulations (Title 21) prohibits beekeeping in all of Anchorage’s downtown districts: B-2A, B-2B, and B-2C.

Screenshot of page 15, chapter 11 of Title 21
MOA map of downtown districts

I don’t believe this is an ordinance that would be aggressively enforced, but it may be enough to keep honest folks from doing it or if someone makes a complaint.

Think bees don’t belong in the city? New York City disagrees, not only do people keep bees in Manhattan there’s a Beekeepers Association providing beekeeping classes, urban beekeeping apprenticeship programs, and even a hive hosting program.

Our Downtown – A project to Implement the Downtown Comprehensive Plan is engaging the community and seeking input through a series of (virtual) events to guide downtown Anchorage’s revitalization, including some potential revisions to Title 21, Chapter 11 (downtown).

If you’d like to see, the beekeeping ban lifted, send a comment to the zoning commission or your assembly representative.