A tame hen being held being held in the U.K. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Good news, everyone! There is virtually no opposition from the planning commission on backyard hens. They’re drafting and putting an ordinance change up to the village board.
There’s going to be a village board public hearing on October 3rd at 6:30pm at 66 Thillen Dr. in Fox Lake for proposing a change to the existing animal control ordinance to allow for raising a limited number of backyard hens.
We need everyone who is behind this ordinance change to be in attendance. Please come and show your support and help answer questions and objections that may arise during the hearing. Members of the local media have been notified of the hearing and these details. Let’s give a good showing should they decide to cover the event.
Here are the minutes of the meeting where a Boy Scout from Troop 274 in Lake Villa (but who lives in Fox Lake with a Spring Grove mailing address) proposed the ordinance and answered the planning commission’s questions.
And here, as well as quoted below the link, are the minutes of a following meeting held August 1st where planning board members discuss and pass a motion to have this topic go to a village board hearing. My commentary is in [bold square brackets].
IV: OLD BUSINESS
Three hens being let out of their Eglu. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
F: David Gauger stated the next item is Domesticated Fowl. I have a revised proposed ordinance from our meetings. You received via email a memo dated today from Commissioner Urbina. We have discussion.
1: Mr. Lescher stated I got the memo and the article from the Daily Herald and I had to look into this. I believe there are concerns, the issue is not without concerns. I didn’t feel the concerns rose to the level that we should prohibit it. I tend to think that less government is better and this is a direction that I see catching on in a lot of areas. It didn’t pass in Mundelein and I could show you as many places that it did pass as it didn’t. I don’t think we have heard form the places that are allowing it that it has created a groundswell of chicken coops or problems. I do think that if you have it at a hearing you will get some people that will be worried that their neighbor will have a stinky chicken coop. I think you will get some people that grew up on a farm that had cows and pigs on the farm and not just chickens. I think there is a typical over reaction of some people and I think in the suburbs where they have done it what we haven’t heard was an outpouring of reversals. I don’t think you would have 50 people in Fox Lake doing this. I don’t think you would 20. I do think we are going to charge and if there is a cost to the Village that should be born by the people requesting the privilege. I would like to give it a try. If it is a nuisance we will nip it in the get go. You might get one or two that stink and I think they will have to clean it up. I’m thinking we might pass it and d it might be a nice thing. Some people will do it right and some will take advantage of it. It would be interesting to see the conversation at the Village Board.
A chicken coop in a Seattle backyard. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
2: Mr. Gauger stated my comment is that we researched, discussed and came up with a proposed ordinance that would have to be totally re-written if it were to go forward and our job is done. It is time for us to send our thoughts onto the Village Board that will make the decision.
3: Mr. Lescher stated I bet our eagle scout would want to know when it goes to the Village Board. I would like to see the pros and cons in the audience.
4: Mr. Ebbert stated I have a little different feeling on this. I figure if somebody wants to raise chickens they should have a farm not put it on a residential lot. You designate an acre of land you are not going to tell me it is not going to stink because it is definitely going to stink. There is no question of that. [Backyard hen owners love their egg-laying pets. Stinking, filthy conditions are an extremely rare occurrence that can be dealt with by implementing fines on a case-by-case basis.]
5: Mr. Lescher stated I beg to differ because I didn’t know my brother had chickens in his back yard until he told me the second day I was there and he showed me. He is on a 75×150 lot. [Backyard hens do not need acres per hen. Most get along fine with between 5 and 10 square feet per bird.]
6: Mr. Ebbert stated I personally think that the gentlemen and his son that came in here would be that type of person. [We would. And we'd be happy to be a learning resource to teach anyone in the community how to keep hens.] Don’t think that is the majority of that would go into something like this. I just think that kind of animal should be left on a farm the way it is supposed and not on a residential property. ["The way it's supposed to" is a modern myth.
Chickens in industrial coop (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Chickens once enjoyed a solid niche of American backyards until factory farming crammed them into 1×1 foot cages to suffer while laying more eggs than Nature intended.] I surely wouldn’t want it as my neighbor at all and I’d fight it tooth and nail and I love animals [Keeping backyard hens is a great way to gradually take market share from inhumane factory farms]. I just feel that if they want to raise chickens whats to stop somebody from raising goats? [Careful crafting of the existing ordinance, which already prohibits smell and nuisance and specifically lists the types of animals prohibited, is all that is needed to restrict goats and anything else people won't likely try to get away with anyways. All we really need to do is remove "poultry" from that list and add explicit provisions for allowing them.]
7: Mr. Lescher stated I would say that if it turns into a worse case scenario it should be revisited. If Frank comes back and or the Police Chief comes back saying I’m sending guys out way to often, either raise the charge [or impose a fine for each violation] or give me a higher budget for the police Department. I think it could be and would be revisited if it turned out that way. I’m guessing there are a lot of suburbs and 5 people took them up on it and they got a complaint or two and by and large I think it is running very smoothly and again I speak from my own experience where I have seen it done and you don’t even know they are there. You will get the worse case scenario guy out there but I don’t think that you say no to everyone based on your fears of that guy.
This is typical of an American home’s back yard prior to the 1950s when we decided to cram our birds into tiny, filthy factory cages. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
8: Mr. Ebbert reiterated I still personally don’t want to repeat it, but I have to repeat it, that I think those kinds of animals belong on a farm they don’t belong on a residential piece of property. If you are going to pass this onto the Board I think the Board should know we have not taken a vote on it, that we just went into it and looked at it and are passing onto them with no opinion on side, unless we take a vote.
9: Mr. Gauger explained we have to make some sort of motion. Your voice would be heard when you vote on that motion. Now there wasn’t a petition so we are not voting on a petition so the only thing we would actually have a vote on is whether or not to send our recommendation, which would be the Proposed Ordinance for Domesticated Fowl onto the Board.
Michael Lescher made a motion to recommend to the Village Board adoption of the Proposed
Ordinance for Domesticated Fowl.
Danice Moore seconded the motion
A: Commissioner Urbina stated the way this transpired was the boy scout and his father called the Building Department and inquired about this project that the boy scout was undertaking. He brought in all his paper work and was real serious and I spoke to his father. We initially thought he should file a petition but we thought it was not only affecting his property but would be affecting the Village as a whole so my idea was for it to come to the Plan
Commission as discussion, saving the boy scout and his father the $400.00 fee so we could get comments from the Plan Commission. There is no petition so you wouldn’t be recommending on a petition but you could vote to recommend your intent to the Board whether it be this ordinance or you feel the Village should go ahead and petition, since the Village would be the one petitioning.
Chicken coop for three hens ! (Photo credit: lord marmalade)
1: Mr. Lescher stated the Village doesn’t need a petition to pass and ordinance. They do this all the time. Our recommendation would be to adopt the ordinance.
2: Commissioner Urbina stated I thought it would be best through petition because then it would be a public hearing for comment. You can’t just pass an ordinance and the Board isn’t going to vote on that ordinance without having some kind of public hearing.
3: Mr. Lescher stated I would leave that to the Board and I agree with you that they can do what they want and may very well choose to in that direction. I don’t think we need a petition to do that, the Board can have a public hearing on anything they want.
4: Commissioner Urbina stated I think that a public hearing should take place here and that is a recommendation to the Board, but that is there call too.
5: Mr. Gauger stated lets see if they send it back to us and say it is your public hearing to have. This is what I would like to do. I don’t want to put any more time into this without guidance from the Village Board. At this point it is marginal at best and that is where I disagree with you Bob this thing is marginal at best. If there is no further discussion
Roll Call Vote
Ayes: Michael Lescher, Danice Moore, David Gauger
Nays: Bob Ebbert