A homeowner in Boise, Idaho, recently faced criminal charges over a yearslong dispute with his homeowners association over beekeeping, BoiseDev reported.
Beekeeping is an enjoyable hobby and even a profitable business for people worldwide, providing an endless supply of honey and beeswax. The bees also play a vital role in agriculture and in the natural environment by pollinating plants.
According to the USDA, pollinator populations are on the decline. Beekeepers, who help keep population numbers up by nurturing and protecting hives, are becoming more important as pesticides, increasing heat, shifting weather patterns, and extensive fires threaten wild pollinators.
Despite the fact that beekeeping is so important, the Nature’s Wood Duck Island Home Owners Association, where Jeff and Adam Liegner bought homes in 2020, came down on them for the practice.
According to BoiseDev, Adam placed his beehive in one of the HOA’s common areas behind his father Jeff’s home, and the HOA asked Jeff to get rid of it. Jeff did move the hive to his own property, but that wasn’t enough for the HOA, which sent Jeff another violation notice.
According to Jeff, the HOA had no authority to ban him from keeping bees, a practice that is encouraged and allowed in Boise city code. The association didn’t have a rule against them and was prohibited from making new rules more restrictive than the old ones.
But the HOA said an existing rule banning insects “unless the presence of such creatures does not constitute a nuisance” was enough, BoiseDev said.
The resulting back-and-forth between the Liegners and the HOA escalated to questions about the board’s legitimacy and threats of legal action against the beekeepers.
Finally, current and former HOA board members went to the county with a video of Adam trimming trees in an area that Adam claimed was part of his yard, but the board members insisted was part of the neighboring park, per BoiseDev.
Adam was charged with malicious injury to property — charges that were later dismissed. But the case cost the Liegners attorney’s fees, plus a $3,000 donation to Ada County Parks and Waterways that was decided upon during mediation.
Adam and Jeff Liegner released a statement about the HOA’s “bully behavior,” which they claimed was designed to make them leave, BoiseDev reported. “Bullies should never be tolerated, and we refuse to capitulate to their disingenuous hostilities and intimidation,” they declared.
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