Wauconda homeowner associations may still ban backyard chickens

  • Wauconda trustees could vote Tuesday to allow homeowners to keep chickens in their backyards. But homeowner associations could pass rules outlawing the hobby.

    Wauconda trustees could vote Tuesday to allow homeowners to keep chickens in their backyards. But homeowner associations could pass rules outlawing the hobby. Courtesy of Liberty Prairie Foundation

Updated 2/3/2017 5:11 PM

If Wauconda trustees vote Tuesday to allow people to keep chickens in backyard coops, some residents still won't be allowed to practice the hobby.

Homeowner associations, which often have stricter rules than villages about what people can do on their properties, will be able to pass provisions outlawing chickens. At least one -- the Aspen Grove Homeowners Association -- intends to do just that.


Steve Diol, the group's president, said his neighbors are concerned chickens might draw predators and other animals to their neighborhood.

"We have an empty field to the north of our neighborhood that is home to many fox, coyote, skunks and outdoor cats," Diol said in a letter to Village Administrator Doug Maxeiner that was provided to the Daily Herald. "We don't want to attract more wild animals and potentially increase the interaction between them and our residents."

Other aspects of the proposed ordinance will limit who can keep chickens, too.

For example, only people who live in single-family houses that are on lots at least 7,300 square feet in size will be able to raise chickens. People who live in townhouses, apartments or condominiums won't be allowed to keep the birds, either.

Tuesday's village board meeting is set for 7 p.m. at village hall, 101 N. Main St.

The proposed ordinance allowing chickens was developed during months of discussions about the hobby's merits and potential problems.

Village boards and city councils across the Chicago area have debated the issue in recent years, thanks to a growing number of suburbanites who want to raise chickens for their eggs.

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Critics usually cite concerns about noise, odor and property appearance.

Wauconda's plan limits homeowners to four hens. No roosters would be allowed.

Hens will have to be kept in coops that have fenced-in runs, so the birds don't run wild. Those coops will have size limits, too.

Violators face fines ranging from $25 to $750. Enforcement will be handled by the police.

Wauconda resident John Stanley is among those who campaigned to keep chickens at home. The founder of a Facebook page called "Backyard Chickens for Wauconda," said he's grateful officials are open to the practice.

"We own three hens that currently live in unincorporated Wauconda ... and my kids can't wait to have their hens live at our house," Stanley said.


Maxeiner originally opposed allowing people to keep hens but has softened his stance, saying he now merely has "reservations" about the plan. He thinks many people will underestimate the responsibility and the work associated with keeping hens.

"Time will tell if the reservations are warranted," he said.

Naperville, Elgin, St. Charles, Lombard and Batavia are among the suburbs allowing backyard coops. Mundelein, Libertyville and Arlington Heights are among the towns that have rejected residents' requests to keep chickens.

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