Rolling Meadows crafts backyard chicken regulations ahead of possible approval

  • Rolling Meadows officials are crafting regulations that would allow up to 25 residents citywide to raise chickens in their backyards.

    Rolling Meadows officials are crafting regulations that would allow up to 25 residents citywide to raise chickens in their backyards. Daily Herald File Photo

 
 
Updated 8/21/2019 5:52 PM

Rolling Meadows aldermen continue to refine rules and regulations to possibly allow chickens in backyards, while residents on both sides continue to debate if the egg-laying hens should be permitted at all.

Most council members have expressed openness to allowing the feathered fowl -- as many as six per backyard for up to 25 homes citywide -- if not still having some reservations about over-the-fence issues that could arise between neighbors.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Aldermen this week debated the specifics of a draft ordinance -- preliminarily set for consideration Sept. 10 -- that would permit chickens but regulate how they are raised.

For instance, chicken coops would have to be at least 10 feet away from lot lines, and couldn't be in front yards or street-facing side lots. Aldermen discussed increasing the minimum lot size permitted to raise chickens from 8,000 to 9,000 square feet.

Those who want to raise chickens would have to pay a one-time $25 city fee and register with the Illinois Department of Agriculture. There's still discussion about whether owners would have to have their chickens receive an annual visit from a veterinarian.

Alderman John D'Astice, the only outright opponent when a straw poll was taken in July, suggested additional regulations during a committee-of-the-whole meeting Tuesday, such as prohibiting the sale of eggs without a license.

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One resident who opposes backyard chickens suggested the city hold a referendum to poll all residents on the topic.

Supporters, led by the Rolling Meadows Citizens for Chickens group, argued the chickens wouldn't be a nuisance, while concerns over the spread of salmonella would be mitigated by washing hands and keeping areas clean.

"I don't mind all kinds of restrictions," said Andrew Rucker, who moved to Rolling Meadows 10 years ago. "But you can't legislate common sense or being a good neighbor."

The council rejected backyard chickens in 2014 and 2018, but a new council sworn in this spring took up the proposal again.

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