Batavia City Council mulls allowing backyard chickens
Residents will be able to voice their opinions next month on whether the city should allow chickens in residential areas. The city council’s City Services Committee will give residents the opportunity to comment on the issue at its March 8 meeting. The meeting starts at 7:30 p.m.
It is illegal to keep or maintain fowl and poultry within the city limits at a distance less than 200 feet from any home. Batavia residents were allowed to raise chickens until 1991, when the city’s code was changed because of complaints of roosters waking people up in the morning hours.
St. Charles is the only municipality in central Kane County that allows chickens.
City officials already have been trying to gauge residents’ feelings on the issue. The city invited residents to submit comments to a city e-mail address, chickens@cityofbata via.net. Of the 66 e-mails the city received, the majority of the responses were in favor of permitting backyard chickens, with 20 opposed.
“We don’t know if that is reflective of the broader community,” Batavia Community Development Director Jerry Swanson said. “Many people noted that there should be a limit of eight hens, with roosters prohibited altogether.”
He invited residents to continue to e-mail their thoughts on the issue.
If the city council does decide to allow chickens in residential areas, Swanson said residents probably would not be required to get a city permit.
“That’s way too much bureaucratic overhead,” Swanson said. “If people don’t like it, they can file a complaint and we will investigate, just like any other code complaint.”
Residents Betsy Zinser and Jen Warta have been studying the issue.
Zinser and Warta are proposing that residents be allowed to have up to eight laying hens, but no roosters. The chickens would have to be kept in a pen that is at least 20 feet from the nearest home, and food would have to be stored in rodent-proof containers.