North Aurora board sees little interest in backyard chickens

Posted7/7/2015 5:30 AM

North Aurora trustees decided Monday that unless a whole lot more people are interested in raising chickens in their yards, they aren't interested in considering changing village law to allow it.

Two residents had asked the village in May to allow the practice. The couple had been ticketed by the village for illegally keeping chickens.


Trustee Laura Curtis firmly opposed the idea, saying chickens would attract coyotes and devalue neighbors' properties. People buying suburban homes don't expect to live next door to livestock, she said.

Village administrators and Trustee Mark Carroll noted the growing popularity of raising chickens in urban areas, with Carroll pointing out it is part of the "sustainability" movement that includes growing one's own vegetables.

"If you want to grow your own food and raise your own livestock, there is a thing called a farm," Curtis replied.

Trustees Mike Lowery and Chris Faber were absent. Trustees Mark Guethle and Mark Gaffino asked a few questions, but did not express an opinion.

President Dale Berman said the village hadn't received enough requests to merit spending time rewriting its laws. He also pointed out that many North Aurora houses are in subdivisions that have homeowners' associations that prohibit keeping livestock, so it would likely only apply to older sections of the village.

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He was not necessarily opposed to backyard chicken-keeping, however.

"I think they are a lot better than barking dogs," Berman said. He also noted village code doesn't prohibit keeping rabbits, which some people eat.

Carroll wondered if chickens were allowed, would people then push to keep other livestock, such as goats.

Village administrator Stephen Bosco had recommended that if trustees were in favor, the village adopt rules similar to those of neighboring Batavia. Batavia prohibits keeping roosters; allows up to eight hens; sets minimum per-hen square footage for enclosures; and has rules on how far enclosures have to be set back from neighbors' properties and buildings. Batavia has issued 19 permits since 2011, and had one compliance complaint. It also had an incident where a chicken escaped and died when a dog attacked it.

Bosco said if more residents seek permission to raise chickens, he will bring the matter back to the board.

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