Ypsilanti City Code of Ordinances Beekeeping ordinance

Community Food Security, Land Use and Planning, Land Use Regulation
Policy type

Ypsilanti’s animal ordinance was amended to allow residents to keep bee colonies on their property. The ordinance states that residents in single- and two-family residential neighborhoods can apply for a renewable permit and pay a permit fee to keep up to two honeybee colonies on each tract in the city. Residents must keep colonies in hives with movable frames, and the hives must be in sound and usable condition. The ordinance establishes a flyway barrier requirement of at least 6 feet in height and 10 feet beyond the colony perimeter if a colony is located within 25 feet of a public or private property line. The ordinance also contains specifications for sourcing water for the colonies, adherence to Michigan Apiary Laws and Cottage Food Law, and queen replacement procedures in the event that a colony exhibits aggressive behaviors.

Relationship to food access, food insecurity, or local food economies

Several local governments in the U.S. have passed ordinances to allow residents to keep bee colonies with the intention of promoting a more sustainable food system (Neuner et al. 2011). Ypsilanti’s bee ordinance allows residents to support urban pollinators and contribute to the local food economy through the sale of value-added products.

Scale of Governance
Michigan Good Food Charter Priority

Priority 6 – Use policy & planning to increase food access


Neuner, K., Kelly, S., & Raja, S. (2011). Planning to Eat? Innovative Local Government Plans and Policies to Build Healthy Food Systems in the United States. Buffalo, New York: The Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab. Retrieved on August 3, 2015 from LINK.