Back-yard bees in Edina are one step closer, but chickens? Not so fast.

The City Council this week gave preliminary approval to an ordinance amendment allowing beekeeping in the city.

Apiaries would be limited to two per half-acre, with a maximum of 12. A 20-foot setback from the property line would be required, and apiaries in front yards would be forbidden. Notification of neighbors within 200 feet would be required. The council accepted the proposal on first reading but asked supporters to return with a more detailed process for appeals. The council could adopt the beekeeping ordinance on second reading at its next meeting.

Chickens were a tougher sell. The council expressed concerns about humane treatment and declined to accept on first reading a proposal to allow up to four back-yard hens, sending it back to the city's Energy & Environment Commission for more work.