Over the protests of several neighbors, Schaumburg trustees Tuesday approved housing for hundreds of thousands of new residents on a 1,600-square-foot area of village-owned property off Plum Grove Road.
The community bee yard for local beekeeping hobbyists was approved by a 5-1 vote after the village board heard from both concerned critics and passionate supporters of the proposal.
On March 13, the village's zoning board recommended against the plan by a 6-1 vote after hearing from seven nearby families worried about bee stings and the possibility of the insects being made more aggressive by the launching site of Schaumburg's Septemberfest fireworks only 200 feet away.
Several of these neighbors also attended Tuesday's village board meeting, but their message was countered by many beekeeping enthusiasts and experts, including some from other communities and counties.
Bob Bavirsha of Bridgeview is a member of the Cook-DuPage Beekeepers Association and keeps 250 hives himself, including at Brookfield Zoo. He said honeybees shouldn't be confused with the more aggressive wasps and yellowjackets.
In fact, in more than 33 years of keeping bees at Brookfield Zoo, he said there has never been any harm caused to the public.
But Sam Patel was among the neighbors who continued to be concerned, bringing a petition of nearby residents worried by the presence of up to 10 hives and 500,000 bees in a fenced area just southwest of Our Saviour's United Methodist Church on Plum Grove Road.
"We do not think this is a good idea or appropriate for the community or village of Schaumburg," Patel said.
Trustee Hank Curcio cast the sole vote against the bee yard, suggesting it would be better elsewhere in the village.
Staff members had explored the possibility of locating the yard at Schaumburg Regional Airport, but the approval process before the Federal Aviation Administration was expected to take many months.
Trustees Marge Connelly and Frank Kozak said they'd been prepared to vote against the bee yard or abstain but were convinced of its safety by the several experts who testified Tuesday.