Chickens may come home to roost in Homewood

2014-04-13T00:00:00Z Chickens may come home to roost in HomewoodPaul Czapkowicz Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
April 13, 2014 12:00 am  • 

HOMEWOOD | Chickens may soon have a home in Homewood, following the Village Board's decision on Tuesday to direct staff to draft an ordinance allowing for and regulating the housing of poultry on residential property.

Heather Deyo is part of a group she said calls itself "Hens for Homewood," which assembled earlier this year and brought its desire to house chickens to the Village Board.

"I want to raise chickens to teach my children about having sustainable lifestyles," Deyo said.

She said she also does not agree with the way chickens are housed and slaughtered by the poultry industry.

Kate Duff said about 20 Homewood residents involved in "Hens for Homewood" have expressed interest in raising chickens, but she does not know if all will.

"I'm a gardener and I raise a lot of food for the family anyway, so this is kind of a next step and chickens aren't just the eggs, they also provide fertilizer," she said.

Duff said the group has been giving the Village Board input as far as what would go into the ordinance.

She said no slaughtering, no selling of eggs and no roosters would be allowed.

Duff said allowing residents to raise chickens for eggs would give people more control over the food they eat and alleviate the concern some have with antibiotics being given to animals.

Homewood resident Jason Baldauf attended Tuesday's meeting along with Deyo and Duff and said he does not anticipate chickens causing problems for neighbors.

"As long as the coops are properly kept there's no smell," he said. "They don't make a lot of noise."

With Trustees Anne Colton and Tom Kataras absent, the board voted 4-1 in favor of drafting the ordinance.

Trustee Ray Robertson was the only member of the board to object to the housing of poultry on residential property.

"I don't like the idea," Robertson said. "I just see this coming back in a few months with neighbors complaining and people not being happy with this having been passed, and people not realizing what's going on and not realizing until their neighbors start raising chickens."

Trustee Barbara Dawkins said Naperville, Oak Park and Chicago have similar ordinances.

"A lot of towns do have ordinances like this," Dawkins said. "They haven't fallen apart."

The Village Board had been provided with a version of Naperville's ordinance, but Trustee Jay Heiferman said he prefers an ordinance Batavia has.

"I think that the Naperville ordinance doesn't regulate how much room the chickens should have," Heiferman said.

He said he does not think raising chickens in Homewood will be very popular.

"It's a very niche market, people that want to raise chickens," Heiferman said. "I think it's great."

A limit on the number of chickens a resident would be allowed to keep had not been set, but Village President Rich Hofeld said the ordinance would allow a total of six chickens.

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