One year later, not many chickens being raised in Batavia

It’s been almost a year since the Great Backyard Chicken Debate of Batavia, which ended with the city council agreeing to let people in town have coops.

But the number of permits sought is far less than the number of people who spoke passionately in favor off allowing the practice.

As of early April, the community development department had issued six building permits for chicken coops, and had three more applications pending.

“It seems like there is a little bit of interest,” Building Commissioner Jeff Albertson said.

Alderman Vic Dietz pointed out, however, that that number is far fewer than the number of people who filled the city council chambers last spring to speak passionately in favor of raising chickens. But Albertson said that all of the formerly lawbreaking chicken-keepers his department knew of had since obtained permits.

Furthermore, the department has received only one complaint about backyard chickens, and that one wasn’t about noise or smell. Instead, it was about a chicken that got loose. Unfortunately, it ran into the street and was hit by a car.

Chickens must stay in a coop or an enclosed run. The buildings must be at least 30 feet from any neighbor’s building, and at least 6 feet in from the lot line. Proponents at the time of the May 2011 vote felt that the 30-foot requirement would prevent many people with smaller lots from being able to raise chickens.

Only hens are allowed, and eight is the maximum. Slaughter is prohibited.

The rules and the application are available at

Batavia OKs backyard chickens

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