Plainfield allows backyard chickens
By Madhu Mayer For The Herald-News October 16, 2012 7:54PM
Myrle prepares to lead the way out of a chicken coop in La Grange while Bertha, Mabel and Henrietta strut around. | Jane Michaels—Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 17, 2012 10:39AM
PLAINFIELD — The village has ordinances dealing with household pets such as dogs and cats.
Add chickens to that list, too.
Village officials on Monday approved regulations for keeping backyard chickens.
Previously, residents were allowed to keeping fowl on lots of five acres or more, as all chicken coops must be set back no fewer than 100 feet from adjacent residential structures.
But in recent years, planner Jonathan Proulx said, many municipalities have allowed residents to keep chickens in their backyards, or in more conventional subdivision settings. In the Chicago suburbs, these communities include Downers Grove, Batavia, Evanston, Naperville, Oak Park, St. Charles and Warrenville.
Other communities, such as Lockport, McHenry, Lombard and Normal, have considered the issue in recent years and elected not to allow chickens on smaller lots, he said.
Proponents point to the benefits of backyard chickens, including the potential health, environmental, economic and educational advantages. But Proulx said opposition to suburban chickens has often been based on the perception that the birds’ presence would lead to unwanted noise, odor and public health problems.
Police Chief John Konopek said the current plan considers noise, odor and public health concerns.
The measure prohibits chicken houses from being built within 100 feet of any occupied residence other than that of the owner. The chicken coops also have to be fenced in, clean and in the backyard.
Owners are limited to keeping eight birds, under the plan.
“I do not expect to see a huge influx of people wanting to raise chickens,” he said. “It is a huge undertaking.”
Trustee Bill Lamb said he didn’t see any problems with the plan.
“You cannot run a business with eight hens, but if you want to do it for educational purposes .... children can learn from it,” Lamb said.
The ordinance stipulates that no roosters can be kept in the village. Also, it is unlawful to slaughter chickens, unless for a humane reason.
Anyone who wants to keep hens must register with the planning department before acquiring them. The permit fee for building a henhouse is $20. Anyone who violates the ordinance will be fined $250 for the first offense, $500 for the second offense and $750 for the third or subsequent offense.