Palatine officials deny chicken coop proposal

Despite mounds of positive research and an absence of concerns by the village staff, Palatine officials didn’t get on board with a couple’s effort to build and stock a backyard chicken coop.

The village council Tuesday unanimously voted down Vanessa and Jason Barsanti’s proposal to house a small flock of two to six hens due to opposition from the household behind their home on the 500 block of West Daniels Road.

The decision to keep the poultry ban in place, which came without hearing additional testimony from other suburban chicken owners and real-estate agents claiming coops don’t adversely affect property values, left several supporters upset.

“I just wish (the council) had listened to the rest of what people came here to say,” Vanessa Barsanti said after the vote. “I don’t understand how one person can stamp out 20 people who support this.”

Council members said they already considered the extensive testimony given at an earlier Zoning Board of Appeals meeting, which resulted in that board’s unanimous recommendation to approve the proposal, and the Aug. 6 village council meeting.

Officials at the time tabled the issue to give the Barsantis the opportunity to reach a compromise with Ann Harrison, who lives on the 300 block of South Elm Street and expressed fear the chickens would attract predators.

“That issue has not been resolved and still exists today,” Councilman Scott Lamerand said.

Had the proposed ordinance passed, only 5.5 percent of the lots in Palatine would meet the 20,000 square-feet minimum to be eligible. Coops would have to be at least 20 feet from a property line and 40 feet from another house.

There would have been maintenance, fencing and landscaping standards, as well as a requirement that egg production be only for personal use.

The Barsantis listed several reasons for their desire to have hens — roosters would be prohibited — most notably for the taste and increased nutrition that fresh eggs provide. The coops also support sustainable living, learning opportunities and act as natural insect controls, they said.

Village attorney Patrick Brankin denied Vanessa Barsanti’s claim her right to due process was being violated, saying she had ample opportunity to provide evidence. Still, Barsanti handed him a preservation notice she said requires the village to hold onto all evidence in anticipation of her possibly pursuing legal action.

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