ELBURN – Elburn residents may now apply for a permit to raise chickens in their backyards due to the Village Board’s approval of a new ordinance Oct. 16.
The ordinance, based on a St. Charles ordinance regulating raising chickens, spells out conditions and restrictions under which backyard chickens will be allowed, including limiting the number to no more than six domestic chickens and the prohibition of roosters.
According to the new ordinance, chickens must also be kept in an enclosure and/or fenced area in the rear yard no closer than 5 feet to any property line, and appropriate hygiene of the areas must be maintained, including being free of an undue accumulation of waste and no detectable odors may be on adjacent properties.
The ordinance, which will not apply to subdivisions such as Blackberry Creek, was passed with a one-year probationary period, giving the village time to determine if the change should become permanent.
The consideration by the village to allow backyard chickens within the village limits was initiated earlier this year when Elburn resident Paul Christiansen and his daughters first broached the topic at a Village Board meeting in March. Christiansen, who grew up on a farm, thought it would be an educational activity for his children as well as to provide nitrogen fertilizer for their garden and healthy eggs.
A village ordinance prohibiting residents from keeping chickens or other livestock within the village limits was in place at the time.
Interest in backyard chickens has increased during the past few years in a number of communities, leading to the creation of local ordinances to regulate the activity. Fourteen people signed up for a class in raising chickens recently held at the Town and Country Public Library.
The Plan Commission on Oct. 13 recommended approval of the new ordinance. Commissioner Rob Houtz said that his informal survey of residents’ thoughts on the subject, he found only one individual against it.
“As long as they’re not running around spreading diseases, have at it,” he said.
Although the majority of village officials were in favor of the change, several had some concerns. Commissioner Chris Gould, who raises hogs for a living, said there is a possibility of the chickens attracting insects and rodents, and creating problems between neighbors.
Village trustee Ken Anderson, who works for Kane County, said he has seen a problem among neighbors in an unincorporated area of the county, and trustee Sue Filek questioned how much village staff time it may take to regulate it.
The village will have a year to sort these things out before making a permanent commitment.
Building Superintendent Tom Brennan said he will create a package to educate residents on what is required to obtain a permit.