Two Elmhurst Committees Will Peck at Chicken Issue

Eggs-amination to Include zoning and safety questions.

Both the Development, Planning and Zoning and Public Affairs and Safety committees will take a crack at a potential change in city code that would allow residents to own chickens.

Currently, Elmhurst's Municipal Code prohibits residents from keeping a “stable, poultry yard or other place for the housing of any farm animal.”

But backyard egg production is no longer rarer than hen's teeth in the suburbs. Planning and Zoning Administrator Than Werner said city staff's preliminary research showed that most towns that allow chickens have a limit on the number of animals allowed and do not permit roosters. Slaughtering the birds, Werner emphasized, would not be allowed.

Many also regulate where a coop can be located in a yard and if permits are needed for one. Oak Park allows up to two chickens per yard and Batavia mandates the birds be in a covered, fenced enclosure.

DPZ chairman and 6th Ward Alderman Steve Morley reported that his committee will focus on the zoning questions and the PAS committee will study any safety issues related to chicken care.

Third Ward Alderman Dannee Polomsky asked Werner to find out if any local communities attempted a trial run on chicken husbandry.

Owning chickens could be a “good, wholesome activity for a family,” said 2nd Ward Alderman Bob Dunn, who was one of the council members who asked for committee consideration of the issue.

Residents who attended the meeting agreed.

Jan Happel told the committee that rearing poultry is “rewarding” and a “great learning tool for children.”

Erin Langan said allowing the animals would attract to Elmhurst families who are concerned about living sustainably.

“It can only help Elmhurst,” she said.

More than 700 residents have already signed a petition in support of chickens in the city.

Morley asked city staff to keep the two committees abreast of each other's work.

“We don't want to run afoul of Public Affairs,” Morley said.

“I'll peck away at it,” Werner replied.

JJ October 25, 2012 at 11:55 PM
Worrying about what is in my neighbors back yard is a valid concern, as it directly affects me. I don't want 7 cats or dogs there either and I did have a neighbor with one dog they didn't clean up after and when the wind was blowing, it wasn't pleasant. No one is addressing who will monitor these "clean" chicken coups and who will absorb the cost of this monitoring. Does anyone know the answer? Guess I'll just have to call the city when I can't take it anymore and it looks and smells like a farm? What is the cost of raising two chickens, build a coop, keep separate clothes only for the coop, feed them, and clean up? Buy organic eggs and chickens and find a hobby that doesn't impose on your neighbors or property values. Or better yet, drive to Oak Park where you buy the eggs from a resident there! How many eggs do you eat a week? Haven't you heard there's a cholesterol problem in this country?
Cluck A. Cluck October 26, 2012 at 04:32 AM
My husband was diagnosed with a lung fungus many years ago. After being ill (night sweats, constant coughing, weight loss) for over a month (two different antibiotics) his Dr. referred him to a pulmonary doctor. EMH couldn't determine the illness, so a specimen was sent to the CDC. It was a lung fungus caused by chicken droppings. My husband traveled to work each day and passed an old chicken farm where the land was being excavated to build condos and apartments. He ingested the dust droppings which were air-borne. He now has lung scarring from that fungus. The treatment would've been a slow I-V drip for several days. By the time this was detected as a fungus, his body had already conquered it. He was a very sick man. I would not recommend any chickens in backyards. This is a health issue for the entire community.
Steve October 26, 2012 at 02:57 PM
What's with the insults. Provide your opinion but don't bash others. I personally see both sides of the issue but I wouldn't insult the individual making the comments.
Elm Forest October 26, 2012 at 07:52 PM
Steve, I appreciate what you wrote. It's really good to have you post that. Too many use these sites to blow off some steam but the anger isn't directed properly. Just being a potty mouth or bully isn't saying much good about the submitter.
Abdul Khan November 10, 2012 at 05:19 PM
And who will be monitoring if people are cleaning up after their dogs in the park? Who will monitor if the dog feces is picked up when people walk their dogs after it gets dark? We all know that most dog owners simply skip picking up the dog's excrement after dark because no one has been watching them. We ought to raise a big flag about this and have a city council discussion about dog walkers and the dog waste pick up. Perhaps a crew of city walkers should be enforcing the dog ordinance, search lights at night and night vision too!


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