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updated: 7/24/2012 1:06 PM

Mundelein: No chickens, bees in backyards

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By Taylor Goldenstein
tgoldenstein@dailyherald.com

Beehives and chicken coops will not be making their way into backyards in Mundelein just yet.

A proposed zoning ordinance that would have allowed the animals was tabled at the village's regular meeting Monday in a 4-2 vote. Thirteen people showed up to the meeting to speak, and about 15 more were present to stand with the commenters.

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For most, the concerns about chickens regarded the potential for nuisances, such as odor or noise, a possible reduction in property value and the attraction of predators. Some speakers also had concerns with taxes rising because of increased police vigilance.

Roger Kippenhan told trustees Monday that he grew up on a farm and pointed out these issues.

"As a farm boy, I smelled what chickens smelled like actually living next door to them," Kippenhan said. "We had a 240-acre farm, and we'd talk about the smell of feces in the late afternoons of the hot summer. ... Could you imagine what your neighborhood would smell like?"

Many speakers were concerned about bees being a threat to neighbors, especially those with allergies.

"Ten percent of the population is allergic to bees," said John Ramer, who is deathly allergic. "Mundelein residents could die from anaphylactic shock. Why would we take that risk?

Other residents showed support for the chickens and bees. Jennifer Kehrer said raising chickens has environmental benefits.

"This is not an irresponsible way of life that we're trying to pursue," Kehrer said. "It is a local movement fueled by well-informed, educated people who want a quality life, locally grown food and flourishing environment."

One resident, Katie Henning, suggested creating a community coop or aviary.

"I believe people definitely should have property rights over their own yard and their own house, but we live in a community, and we need to be respectful of one another," Henning said. "I think there's an opportunity here to educate our children and also keep my property values on the uprise and keep our taxes down."

Trustee Ed Sullivan, a retired veterinarian, voted in favor of the ordinance. Sullivan said he would be interested in revisiting the subject at a later date.

Trustee Terri Voss, who voted against the ordinance, reminded Sullivan that this would be possible only if trustees deemed the topic worthy of discussion.

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