Sugar Grove gives OK for backyard chickens on trial basis

  • Advocates say backyard chickens can be good for a garden, because they eat insects, grasses and seeds. Sugar Grove is testing letting people raise chickens, but the coops and pens would have to be screened from neighbors' view by a fence or landscaping.

    Advocates say backyard chickens can be good for a garden, because they eat insects, grasses and seeds. Sugar Grove is testing letting people raise chickens, but the coops and pens would have to be screened from neighbors' view by a fence or landscaping. Associated Press

 
 
Posted8/4/2017 1:00 AM

Sugar Grove will allow a few residents to raise backyard chickens during an 18-month trial run.

President Sean Michels cast the deciding vote for Tuesday night. Trustees Kevin Geary, David Paluch and Sean Herron favored the idea. Trustees Ted Koch, Rick Montalto and Mari Melson-Johnson voted "no."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Eight permits will be available at $65 apiece.

Only four hens per household are allowed, and no roosters. There's to be no hatching of chicks, and no slaughtering. The hens will have to be kept in a coop and attached pen, which must be screened from the neighbors' view by a wooden fence or evergreen landscaping.

Community development director Walter Magdziarz said a person who lives in unincorporated Sugar Grove Township has offered to help teach people about raising chickens, and is willing to take the chickens if people change their minds about keeping them. The village will also hand out a brochure on the topic.

The request came up in the spring from a family that was raising chickens who found out doing so was illegal. Nobody had complained about their chickens, and their neighbors signed their petitions calling for the law to be changed.

"It doesn't sound like these things are all that bad in other communities," Herron said. The village studied laws from other suburbs.

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"I think it is a great learning experience for kids to see where eggs come from, and about taking care of animals," Geary said.

Montalto said he worried predators would be attracted to the chickens, and dogs would bark at them. He favored keeping the status quo, where the village prohibited chickens but only issued tickets if somebody complained. Magdziarz previously said officials were aware of several families raising chickens, but that no one complained.

"I know there are a lot of other ordinances that are not enforced until someone complains. I'm not opposed to having chickens. I think government gets too involved in people's daily lives," Montalto said.

Johnson said she only heard negative comments from residents. "The only people who told me they are for it are in this room. Everyone else told me they are against it," she said.

People who live in subdivisions that have homeowners' associations won't be able to keep backyard chickens if the association's rule prohibit it.

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