Bartlett may drop minimum lot size to keep chickens

 
 
Updated 4/9/2018 5:33 PM
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  • A possible change to Bartlett's year-old backyard chicken law would drop the minimum lot-size requirement of 8,000 square feet but maintain the rule that coops be at least 10 feet from all property lines.

    A possible change to Bartlett's year-old backyard chicken law would drop the minimum lot-size requirement of 8,000 square feet but maintain the rule that coops be at least 10 feet from all property lines. Courtesy of Jennifer Rasmussen/2016

A year after issuing their first chicken-keeping license, Bartlett trustees are willing to drop a minimum lot-size requirement and allow the program to continue until at least 2022.

Four households have received a license since the village established rules in March 2017. A fifth household was denied a license for being just 70 square feet short of the 8,000-square-foot minimum lot size required for backyard chickens, village staff said.

Trustees last week agreed that maintaining a minimum setback of 10 feet from neighboring property lines is more important than the overall size of the lot. The smallest residential lot size in the village is 6,000 square feet.

Village President Kevin Wallace said he doesn't necessarily favor reducing the size requirement, but wouldn't oppose it in the interest of picking his battles. More important to him was maintaining the law's "sunset clause" of March 21, 2019, in order to ensure the experiment lasts at least two years before making the rules permanent.

But now officials are considering moving the law's expiration date back to March 21, 2022, giving the village board five years of data to evaluate.

Based on the first year, the program seems off to a good start.

"We haven't had any complaints about the chickens we have licenses on," Community Development Director Jim Plonczynski said.

During last week's discussion, village board members made no suggestion about changing the current law's maximum of four chickens per license, the maximum of 25 licenses for the village, or the prohibitions against roosters and the slaughtering of livestock.

The recommended changes are expected to be back before the village board at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 17, for formal approval.

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