CHICAGO (WLS) - the will County Board on Thursday approved a comprehensive revision of the county zoning ordinance, with a provision for allowing backyard chickens in some unincorporated residential areas.
However, the issue of cost remains to be discussed. Applicants for backyard chicken coops would have to pay $675 to apply for a special-use permit. Supporters say that kind of fee could discourage people who are interested.
The county will examine the fee schedule separately, later this summer and early in the fall.
"I am, in general, for the passage of the ordinance, but I have a couple of concerns," said Zoe Cremer, of Wheatland Township, at the Thursday board meeting. "I just wanted to address some concerns about the further revision, about the fee schedule."
"we were concerned with, if it would be possible in the future, to not require a special-use permit entirely for the animals," Cremer said.
David Dubois, a staff member for the will County Land use Department, addressed the potential for not requiring a special-use permit.
After the ordinance is approved, the county could have a committee review the matter to determine whether there are requirements the county may want to change, he said.
"that would be the board’s discretion," said Dubois, who is director of the development review division and zoning administrator.
Regardless of the fee schedule, maintaining a backyard chicken coop cannot be done on the cheap. It takes a commitment of time and effort to do it right.
"from beginning to end, it’s an investment. not only monetarily, but it’s an investment in our family, it’s an investment in our future, and it’s an investment in our home," said Kindra Garrabrant of Wheatland Township.
Garrabrant wants to keep her backyard chicken coop in her unincorporated neighborhood, near Plainfield. in June, she received a notice from the land use department, saying that keeping the chickens was against the law. she was informed that it was not a permitted use to keep agricultural fowl on property zoned residential.
On Thursday, the county board’s vote opened some doors for the Garrabrant family.
"of course, I’m happy that it passed," Garrabrant said Thursday night. "I think there still could be improvements made upon this, and I believe that they’ve made room for that to happen in the future."