Village of Homewood customer svc clerk

  A chicken kept at a 
  Homewood home, 
  where back yard coops 
  are allowed, with some 
  file photo)

Chickens will not be crossing the road into Flossmoor anytime soon.

In a unanimous vote, village board members Monday turned down a request to allow backyard chickens in Flossmoor. Officially, the board reaffirmed a ban on barnyard animals by voting to not change the village’s municipal code.

With the vote, board members pulled the plug on poultry and bid farewell to local plans for fowl.

They said no to Rhode Island Reds, Leghorns, Buff Orbingtons and all the other breeds of hens that are increasingly popular as a revival of coops and homegrown eggs takes place in Chicago and the surrounding metro area, as well as across the country.

Board members turned down a request from the village’s Green Committee that the municipal code be changed so that backyard hens can be allowed. In June, the committee recommended that Flossmoor follow the guidelines for keeping family fowl that Homewood approved in 2014.

According to Homewood’s rules, chickens are allowed only on residential properties and building permits are needed for coops. All coops must be in rear yards with prescribed setbacks from lot lines and neighbors’ houses. Only hens – no roosters – are allowed and noisier breeds of chicken are not permitted. Homeowners can have no more than six hens. The birds need to be inside the coop between dusk and dawn.

Carrie Malfeo, a Green Committee member, said her group had contacted Homewood and learned there had been no problems with chickens that were not easily resolved. Homewood has issued 17 permits for hen houses.

Malfeo said there were notable benefits to allowing backyard chickens. They produce food that is totally locally sourced and for which no fossil fuels are needed. Owners of the hens can control the birds’ diets. And the chickens are “great recyclers,” she said, adding that waste from the hens easily decomposes.

Trustee James Mitros said he opposed the proposal, especially since so many Flossmoor backyards are not large enough to accommodate hen houses. Mitros said organic eggs are easily available at local groceries.

“If you like, you can ride your bike to the store,” he said.

Mayor Paul Braun said his biggest concern is that village staff time would be taken up in overseeing a poultry program.

“Do we want to use staff time on this?” he asked. “We only have two part-time ordinance enforcement officers.”

Trustee Perry Hoag said he was also concerned about the use of staff time.

All six village trustees, and Braun, voted to keep the current municipal code in place.

Chickens are included in a comprehensive ban on animals that are considered unlawful in Flossmoor. The municipal code spelling out the ban was last amended in 2010.

Besides chickens, animals that are prohibited include cattle, horses, mules, goats, hogs, geese and ducks, lions, tigers, ocelots, leopards or “any wild animal.”  

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