Letter: Downers Grove Resident Suggests Possible Referendum on Chicken Coop Ordinance

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The following letter was submitted by Downers Grove resident Wayne Enerson as a suggested referendum on possible changes to the village's fowl ordinance.

The village council will hold a standing committee meeting on Jan. 21 to discuss the proposed changes to the ordinance, which outlines the requirements for keeping chickens and other fowl on residential property.

On Dec. 18, Downers Grove Commissioner William Waldack told the council he plans to suggest a referendum for the April 2013 consolidated election ballot to let voters weigh in on the chicken issue.

Related stories:

  • Downers Grove Commissioner Wants Voters to Weigh in on Chicken Regulations
  • Downers Grove Plans Standing Committee Meeting to Tackle Chicken Coop Regulations
  • Downers Grove Staff to Review Chicken Coop Regulations Despite Split Council
  • Downers Grove Council to Discuss Regulations on Backyard Chicken Coops

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Dear Editor,

The following is a suggested referendum for the April ballot to determine whether changes should be made to the village's fowl ordinance:

"The 1987 Village of Downers Grove Domesticated Fowl (turkeys, geese, ducks and chickens ) Ordinance permits four fowl over 18 weeks old and four fowl under 18 weeks old to be kept  in a coop or pen that is at least 50 feet from any property line.        

Should the Ordinance be retained as is?

( ) Yes.

( ) No. (See revisions A and B below if you checked No.)              

Revision A: If you checked No, the ordinance should be revised to read (check only one):

( ) Coop or pen must be at least 40 feet from any property line.     

( ) Coop or pen must be at least 30 feet from any property line.     

( ) None checked.

Revision B: If you checked No, the ordinance should be revised to read (check only one):

( ) Domesticated Fowl can only be kept as a source of food. 

( ) Domesticated Fowl can be kept as pets or as a source of food.

( ) None checked."

Wayne Enerson

Downers Grove, IL

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jilldess January 07, 2013 at 07:22 PM
i hope d.g. will reavaluate this...chickens are a great source of food,fertilizer and insect control. i would love to have a couple but according to ordinance my lot is too small. if kept by a conscientious,knowledgable owner,chickens would be friendly neighbors. it really isnt much different than having a rabbit hutch. to me a bigger problem and annoyance is irresponsible dog owners who let their dogs bark outside in their yards (as if the owners cant hear them while they are inside) and my personal fave are the ones who walk them and dont pick up their poop...if you dont wanna pick up the poop keep em in your own yard!!! chickens are generally quiet and make great pets,and there is nothing like a fresh egg..
William Waldack January 08, 2013 at 09:21 PM
Chickens are also the source of disease, fertilizer that may harm neighbor plantings, smell, and predator-attraction. Coyotes, snakes, hawks, skunk, and raccoons love chickens. Their food attracts rats. Docile well-behaved dogs may now become barking nuisances because of their natural instinct with chickens. If a chicken flies the coop and the neighbor dog does what is natural – the dog may be punished. Don’t you think it’s a good question for residents to answer?
Kent Frederick January 08, 2013 at 09:32 PM
Frankly, no. Questions to put to voters are items such as raising taxes or issuing bonds, whether a town should be dry, or term limits. Whether or not people can own pet chickens and how many is an issue for elected officials. Somehow, if this winds up on the ballot as a referendum, I could anyone from David Letterman to Bill O'Reilly talking about it. That isn't the kind of publicity that DG needs.


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