Bartlett might let residents keep bees, chickens

  • Bartlett resident Jennifer Rasmussen had to find a new home for this and five other chickens she was keeping in her backyard last spring after learning village ordinances barred them from residential properties. Now she's happy the village may consider allowing up to four on a lot the size of hers.

    Bartlett resident Jennifer Rasmussen had to find a new home for this and five other chickens she was keeping in her backyard last spring after learning village ordinances barred them from residential properties. Now she's happy the village may consider allowing up to four on a lot the size of hers. Courtesy of Jennifer Rasmussen

  • Jennifer Rasmussen's six chickens were living in the coop in her backyard until she learned the village of Bartlett didn't allow people to own chickens. Now she's happy the village may consider allowing up to four on a lot like hers.

    Jennifer Rasmussen's six chickens were living in the coop in her backyard until she learned the village of Bartlett didn't allow people to own chickens. Now she's happy the village may consider allowing up to four on a lot like hers. Courtesy of Jennifer Rasmussen

 
 

With the village of Bartlett to turn 126 years old in 2017, officials decided Tuesday night was the right time for a talk about the birds and the bees.

Trustees passed along suggestions to ease regulations for the keeping of bees and chickens on residential property, which zoning board members likely will consider in early March.

For resident Jennifer Rasmussen, who had to give up the six chickens she was keeping in her backyard last spring after learning they weren't allowed, it was welcome news.

"I'd just like to say I'm happy this topic is still moving forward," she told trustees. "This would be a tremendous move in favor of progress."

But trustees seemed happy with staff members' recommendation that the number of chickens be limited to four -- and no roosters.

Community Development Director Jim Plonczynski said most of the nearest towns that allow chickens have settled on that number and experienced few problems.

Rasmussen said she originally had six chickens because their egg production makes it best to have two for every person in a house. But as she and her husband are about to become empty-nesters, she wasn't going to look a gift horse in the mouth.

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The suggestions to allow chickens on home lots with a minimum of 8,100 square feet, to require a minimum of 10 square feet per bird and to require owners to keep enclosures more than 10 feet from a property line also met the approval of Bartlett veterinarian Nancy Blondin. She said she might even apply for a permit herself.

Though trustees rejected the idea of creating a community apiary for beekeepers, most expressed favor for individual hives on lots of at least 10,800 square feet.

Trustee Aaron Reinke expressed some concern for people allergic to bee stings but said he didn't believe the demand for beehives would be overwhelming.

"If you look at the emails, people think we're going to be overrun with bees and chickens, and that's not going to happen," he said.

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