This is what I emailed him:
Hi Mr. Baldermann,
A while back I asked you if you knew if chickens were allowed in New Lenox, and you were pretty sure they weren’t. Above is a link to a community page maintained by a woman fighting to keep her backyard chickens in Tinley Park. There are many links to articles in which other Illinois towns have revised ordinances to allow a small number of chickens to be kept by families as pets and egg producers, including Homewood, Downers Grove, Evanston, Deerfield, Brookfield, Grayslake. Many other towns are working towards the same.
Especially in light of the many continuing threats to the health of our planet, I think it would reflect positively on the Village of New Lenox to join these other towns in revising ordinances that discourage residents from adopting sustainable practices like keeping chickens, water conservation, composting and vegetable gardening. I would argue that chickens (excluding roosters) are a lot quieter and less trouble than dogs (when is the last time you heard about a chicken mauling a toddler?) yet everyone is allowed a dog or two with little restrictions.
A great synopsis of the reasons to keep backyard chickens can be found here: http://backyard-chicken-keeping.com/why-keep-backyard-chickens
Probably the most obvious reason to keep chickens is to provide yourself with a steady supply of fresh, healthy eggs. Because you control the chickens’ diet, you know exactly what is going into the food your family eats. Chickens can also provide a source of meat, although this is really for the hardcore in a backyard environment!
Old bedding straw from the chicken coop is an excellent addition to the compost heap, and chicken manure gives your garden a huge nitrogen boost. But it doesn’t end there – you can also let the chickens roam the garden beds to eat weed seeds and insect pests and scratch over the soil. This is best done at the end of the season so they don’t damage your precious seedlings.
Keeping chickens is good for the environment, as it allows you to opt out of the factory-farmed egg production system and eat super-local food. They’ll also happily devour your food scraps from the kitchen, as well as any trimmings and spent plants from your vegetable patch. Even lawn clippings, autumn leaves and other yard waste can be handed over to the chickens – what they don’t eat will be turned over and broken down until lovely compost remains. Much better than sending everything to landfill!
Chickens have distinct personalities, and can be handled like a pet. Their daily interactions are entertaining to watch, especially their antics when you throw a treat into their pen. The huge variety of size, shape and color available makes chickens a lovely ornamental addition to the backyard, too.
Children can learn a lot about where food comes from by keeping backyard chickens. They’ll also develop an appreciation of living things, be encouraged to explore the outdoors, and will learn the responsibility of feeding, watering and checking the health of their chickens.
Organic free-range eggs are expensive to buy from the store. Producing your own eggs is quite easy and very cost effective. Add to that the savings through reduced need for garden pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. You can also sell fresh eggs to friends and neighbors if you have a surplus.
Please let me know what my next steps should be to working on getting the ordinance regarding keeping chickens in New Lenox changed. Thanks for your time!
This is what his response was:
Years back this was brought up and the concerns about smell and noise ensured that it wasn't going anywhere. I looked up the pros and cons of backyard chickens and every site, including those supportive of having backyard chickens, says smell and noise are a reality. Even females will make a lot of noise in the absence of a rooster. I don't have a problem bringing it up at our work session in April if you'd like. You can be present to speak also.