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updated: 8/17/2017 4:55 PM

Des Plaines to consider 3-year test program for backyard chickens

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  • BRIAN HILL/bhill@dailyherald.comDes Plaines aldermen will consider a proposal Monday to let residents raise backyard chickens.

    BRIAN HILL/bhill@dailyherald.comDes Plaines aldermen will consider a proposal Monday to let residents raise backyard chickens.

 
 

An effort to allow backyard chickens in Des Plaines has been resuscitated just a couple of weeks after the idea was panned by aldermen.

Mayor Matt Bogusz introduced a three-year test program to allow residents to raise chickens in the city limits, a growing trend across the suburbs and nationwide. Aldermen could vote on the ordinance at a meeting Monday at 7 p.m.

Supporters say raising chickens helps sustainability and provides healthier eggs not produced by a large-scale farm. But getting approval from aldermen -- who've raised concerns about health risks, noise complaints and more regulations for city employees to enforce -- could be a tough task.

Third Ward Alderman Denise Rodd, who supports the idea, predicted the proposed ordinance will need to be compromised to gain passage.

"There are bigger issues that our city is tackling," Rodd said. "However, this one seems to generate the most controversy."

Key points of the proposal include:

• Residents could own up to four hens at single-family houses.

• The city would issue no more than 100 permits at a cost of $35 each.

• Roosters and slaughtering chickens would be prohibited.

• Chickens must be in a clean, sanitary coop inside an enclosure no larger than 24 square feet and 8 feet tall.

• The enclosure must be in a fenced backyard and hidden from the street.

• If residents violate the rules three times, their permits will be revoked.

Backyard chickens are allowed in a growing number of suburban communities. Other communities allowing backyard chickens are Oak Park, Elgin, West Dundee, Deerfield, Evanston, Brookfield and Western Springs. Chicago also permits residents to own chickens.

An effort to allow chickens in Des Plaines failed to gain support a few years ago, but the city council later passed an ordinance in 2014 allowing them on a limited basis.

The ordinance -- created to let the Historic Methodist Campground sponsor a 4-H program -- permits up to six chickens on a property of 15 acres that's listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The city council meeting is at city hall at 1420 Miner St.

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