Grayslake village board members agreed Tuesday that more research is needed before they endorse a proposal that would allow backyard hens.
Residents Evan Mittlestaedt, 11, and 15-year-old Natalie Sturm helped bring the chicken issue to the elected officials. Mayor Rhett Taylor said Evan approached him in August 2012 at an informal coffee meeting, while Natalie and her mother provided a presentation to the Grayslake plan commission/zoning board of appeals.
"Everybody can be involved in government, even if you're not old enough to vote," Taylor said.
Under the proposal discussed at a nonvoting committee session Tuesday night, single-family homeowners would be eligible to keep up to six egg-laying hens in a pilot program. The chickens would stay in a 6-square-foot coop at least 8 feet from neighboring property without violating nuisance laws.
Taylor and other elected officials said the proposed ordinance should require homeowners to present a plan on how they would dispose of hens no longer able to lay eggs. He said the provision would be appropriate because hens have limited egg-producing time.
Grayslake's agricultural roots were noted at the meeting.
"This (chickens) is something you would have found in the village a hundred years ago," Taylor said.
Trustee Bruce Bassett did not generate much support for possibly allowing on-site egg sales. The village board concluded another committee discussion will occur after the extra research is finished, likely followed by a final vote.
While Deerfield, Evanston and other suburbs have embraced chickens, the animals were rejected last year by the Arlington Heights and Libertyville village boards.
After extensive discussion in Libertyville, the village board in late November cited potential concerns including noise, property values and predators in declining to direct the staff to create what would have been a two-year pilot program.
Libertyville village code allows chickens on residential properties of 5 acres or more with a maximum of one house.