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Dupage County IL Question

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

I know this has been brought up in the past, but I am looking for some guidance and a definitive answer on keeping chickens legally in Dupage County.  We are being annexed into Downers Grove on 1/1/12 and they are insisting that we show proof of us "legally establishing" the presence of chickens in un-incorporated Dupage County which would then allow us to be grandfathered in with Downers Grove.

If I cant do this, I'll have a nice coop for sale  :-(

PLEASE help if you can, would be pretty tore up to have to get rid of the chicks



post #2 of 17

, I grew up there, many years ago, unincorporated area.  We had chickens and rabbits.

post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 

Yeah I read all of those threads already.  I was looking for someone that has actually gone through the process of going legit with thei brids.  It seems that the lack of specific poultry language in the code allows the county to interpret as they wish, which it appears that you need to hae a 40,000 sq ft lot or be a member of 4H.

Any local folk want to chime in?  What is 4H anyway and what do you have to do to get involved

post #4 of 17

DG says you can have 4 chickens, but they have to be set back 50 ft from all property lines.  I'm assuming you can't meet that requirement?

As far as proving prior legality, the first step would be to show that the structure is legal.  Did you get a permit when you built the coop?  If not, I'm afraid you might be out of luck.  Even if you get a sympathetic county employee to listen to you about the chickens, any subsequent inspection would be risky ... I recently purchased a house where the County fined the previous owner for a small unpermitted garden shed and made them tear it down.

I plan on building a shed, legally (ie, get it permitted & inspected) and using it for chickens.  I will keep it private but if asked, I can at least say that the structure has been approved.  Whether or not my "use" of the structure is legal is open to debate, as you mentioned.  I intend to argue that 1) i followed all the rules regarding the structure and 2) there is nothing expressly prohibiting chickens.  I honestly don't think that #2 will fly, because anything not expressly permitted is assumed to be prohibited (per code).  This seems backward, but that's how it is written.  I'm hoping they give me the benefit of the doubt due to #1.  If that fails, I will argue they are pets.  If that fails, I petition the county board.  Many local municipalities are choosing to legalize (Evanstan, Batavia, Brookfield)

Where are you getting the 40,000 sq ft and/or 4H criteria from?  Someone on the phone?

post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the reply.

Our lot is 100' wide therefore the 50' from all property lines is not possible.

I did not even think to get a permit for the coop.  It is not a big structure and didnt even think that it would be needed.

As far as the 40,000 sq ft and/or 4H, an employee in the county development & planning dept indicated that the lot needs to be 40,000 or a variance may be issued if we become a member of 4H.   

I will report anything going forward as I know there are others in the area that would like to get a defintive answer on this.

post #6 of 17

yeah, some villages/counties have permit exemptions under a certain square footage.  not DuPage.  they told me, "if you can step foot in it you need a permit". (technically, you also need a permit for a fence, a brick path, etc, etc).

You might want to ask the employee from the Econ Dev Dept. to direct you to the specific ordinance that states 40,000 sq. ft is required.  I'm pretty certain it is not in the code.  Though it is possible that they have some internal document (not publicly available) that issues the opinion based on interpretation of current codes.  Either way, would be good to get it in writing.  If there is nothing in writing then there is no precedent, and you are back to the discretion of the current Director.

Sounds like you should join 4H. Though i'm not sure of the timeline/cost of a variance.  And the lack of permit thing might bite you still.

post #7 of 17

by the way, here are the only mentions of 4-H in the County Code.

Definition of 4-H project:
4-H PROJECT: Any project conducted by a 4-H member who has been officially enrolled in the appropriate project by the 4-H organization or a project approved by the DuPage County agricultural extension officer.

Allowance for 4-H projects in residential zones:
4-H projects may be permitted on a zoning lot containing not less than forty thousand (40,000) square feet of land area. All buildings for a 4-H project shall be set back not less than one hundred fifty feet (150') from the front lot line and not less than thirty feet (30') feet from any side or rear lot line.

May or may not jive with what they told you on the phone.  Hence the need to get it in writing.
While this is cut and dry allowable (if you are 40k+ and 4H member), it doesn't necessarily mean they are prohibited otherwise.

post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 

thank you for the help.

Making a call to the county this afternoon

post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 

For any other unincorporated Dupage County residents, here is the definitive answer from the county economic development dept:

No restrictions for any property 5 acres and larger

40,000 sq ft lots to 5 acre lots you must be a member of 4-H

Anything under a 40,000 sq ft lot and you are S.O.L.

post #10 of 17

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Edited by rajohnguzman999 - 10/20/11 at 7:38pm
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