Rules for backyard chickens proposed in Wauconda

  • Russell Lissau/rlissau@dailyherald.comWauconda trustees Lincoln Knight, left, and Ken Arnswald listen to Trustee Tim Howe talk about proposed regulations for backyard chicken coops on Monday at village hall.

    Russell Lissau/rlissau@dailyherald.comWauconda trustees Lincoln Knight, left, and Ken Arnswald listen to Trustee Tim Howe talk about proposed regulations for backyard chicken coops on Monday at village hall.

 
 
Updated 9/20/2016 10:13 AM
Editor's note: The caption for the photograph with this story has been changed to correctly identify Trustee Lincoln Knight.

Wauconda residents who want to keep chickens in backyard coops would be limited to four hens and wouldn't be allowed to sell the eggs the birds produce, under rules being drafted at village hall.

"We're not letting you set up an egg market in your driveway," Trustee Tim Howe said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Additionally, coops would only be allowed at single-family homes, wouldn't be permitted in side yards and would have to be shorter than six feet tall, according to the proposal being drafted.

No roosters would be allowed, too.

The village board's license and administration committee reviewed the proposed rules Monday. No formal action was taken.

Any rules would need approval of the village board. A vote hasn't been scheduled.

Wauconda's current ordinances don't specifically address chickens, so officials treat the birds as livestock and restrict them to areas zoned for agricultural uses.

But the issue has arisen here and in other towns because of suburbanites who want to raise chickens for their eggs.

Village Administrator Doug Maxeiner drafted the proposed rules after the committee decided earlier this month to act on residents' requests to allow chickens in town. He used the rules in nearby towns, including Grayslake and Volo, to develop the regulations.

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A few pro-chicken residents attended Monday's meeting and shared their opinions of the proposal. Michael Prate and his wife, Tara, both suggested the board limit people to six chickens, rather than four.

But Howe, who leads the committee, said four chickens should produce enough eggs "for most people's purposes." He also thought two additional birds would create more noise and would require larger coops.

Trustee John Barbini expressed concern about the appearance of chicken coops and suggested aesthetic rules be added to the regulations.

"You don't want to look like the Clampetts have moved into Beverly Hills," Barbini said, referring to the family in the classic TV show "The Beverly Hillbillies."

But Howe and other officials noted the village doesn't regulate the appearances of swing sets, dog houses or other backyard structures.

"Regulating taste is very difficult," Maxeiner said.

Barbini wasn't swayed.

"If they look like junk, we're going to hear (about) it," he said.

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