Wauconda homeowners can keep hens -- but no roosters
For Wauconda residents, getting eggs for a morning omelet or frittata soon may require walking to the backyard instead of the refrigerator.
After months of discussions, the village board on Tuesday voted to allow homeowners to keep chickens in backyard coops.
The plan limits chicken ownership to people who live in single-family houses that are on lots at least 7,300 square feet in size.
People who live on smaller lots or in townhouses, apartments or condominiums won't be allowed to keep chickens.
Additionally, homeowners are limited to four hens. Roosters are forbidden.
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. Police will handle any complaints or enforcement issues.
The ordinance followed months of discussions about the hobby's merits and potential problems. Proponents want to raise chickens for fresh eggs, while opponents have voiced concerns about noise, odor and other aesthetics.
The board approved the plan 4-1, with Trustee John Barbini casting the lone "no" vote. Before the vote, Barbini said he doesn't want to put police officers in the middle of neighbor disputes about chickens.
He's also concerned about setting a precedent.
"What's next?" Barbini said. "Beekeeping? Raising ducks?"
Naperville, Elgin, St. Charles, Lombard and Batavia are among the suburbs allowing backyard coops.
Mundelein, Libertyville and Arlington Heights leaders have rejected residents' requests to keep chickens.