Changing Chicken Laws in Palos Heights, IL

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances (and how to change' started by weayway, Sep 12, 2016.

  1. weayway

    weayway New Egg

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    Sep 12, 2016
    Hello Chicken people!

    This is my first post here, and I'm struggling to get off the ground in the world of poultry so I'm looking for advice!

    My wife and I moved into a great neighborhood in the suburbs of Chicago, IL called Palos Heights. We got interested in getting some chickens after a family member got a flock a few years ago. Of course, we got very excited and emotionally invested in getting some chickens going before we researched if we actually could or not...

    So after a few hours of looking through our cities ordinances, it wasn't at all clear to me what the rules were. I then spent the next couple of weeks playing phone tag with the Building and Zoning Department at the end of which I was able to talk to someone. After explaining our intentions, he helped me look through the rules, and found the small paragraph below:

    That's it. That's all the city says on the manner. I'm not paraphrasing at all.

    Now speaking with the person at the Building and Zoning Department he said that his, and therefore the cities, interpretation of this is that livestock would include chickens. He was understanding, and wanting to help, but he said he thought it was pretty clear. He also remarked that he thought it was kind of amusing since he knows that when the city was originally set up, each of the little neighborhoods was designed to be it's only little commune/community which included allowances for fruit trees and gardening areas for each resident so they could be more self sufficient. You would think that this would include chickens!

    SO, what's my next step? The gentleman at the Building and Zoning Department said that the ordinance couldn't be amended through an approval or exemption process. I don't totally understand this, but he said that it WASN'T like asking for an variance for an 8ft fence when only a 4' fence was allowed, because there was a formal process for things like that.

    He said that I could bring it up at a number of different committee meetings, but couldn't identify which would be appropriate/receptive to this kind of idea.

    The only thing he suggested was reaching out to the Alderman for our district.

    So, my long winded question is: Do any of you have any experience with this? Should I just shoot out a friendly email? Should I go around and get 100 signatures first? Should I write up a big essay with references and zoning laws from similar cities? Should I just get the chickens and **** the laws? Any guidance or experience anyone has would be helpful.

    Thanks!

    P.S: I did do a quick search of backyardchickens before writing this up. There was one post on Apr 27, 2015 specifically about this, which one commenter responded to, but didn't appear to be any clearer to me, and another long list that user Ameisen put together with a bunch of suburb laws, but they found the laws to be as "unclear" as me...
     
  2. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member

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    [​IMG] and good luck in the battle.

    I was lucky not to have to try to change laws to get my flock. But know areas near here with strong opposition.

    But IMO, get a petition with as many names as you can get to sign and take it to the Mayor along with a statement listing the usual opposition reasons and rebuttals for each. Ask for a change for small backyard flocks of pet chickens to be presented to the council. If you can get at least one person with voting power in your local government on your side, it will help.

    Maybe include pics of pretty, clean, cute coops and pics of nasty dog pens?
     
  3. weayway

    weayway New Egg

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    Sep 12, 2016
    Thanks for the feedback!
     
  4. letsraise

    letsraise New Egg

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    Mar 2, 2017
    I live in Palos Heights and would love to raise chickens! Have you taken any steps recommended? Let's create a group and see if we can make a change!
     
  5. weayway

    weayway New Egg

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    Sep 12, 2016
    I have! I've been to a couple of City Committee meetings, specifically the License, Permits & Franchises committee. At their request I got signatures from my neighbors, and provided them with some information on other city ordinances around the suburbs. They are reviewing this month, and I expect it will be discussed at next month’s meeting.

    It was unclear how it was going to shake out, but they seemed favorable to me as I’ve been able to provide them with all the information they’ve requested and have the support of my neighbors. I don’t know if they are going to change the cities ordinances or not, but they made it sound like they might let me try it out and be kind of like a pilot program for the city?

    If you’re interested you can come to the Committee meeting next week and see what happens! PM me if you want any more info.
     
  6. letsraise

    letsraise New Egg

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    Mar 2, 2017
    Is that the meeting scheduled for Tuesday, March 7th @ 7 pm?
     
  7. weayway

    weayway New Egg

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    Sep 12, 2016
    That's the one!
     
  8. weayway

    weayway New Egg

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    Sep 12, 2016
    NO! Sorry, I was wrong - it's Tuesday the 14th. It's always the second Tuesday of the month.
     
  9. weayway

    weayway New Egg

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    Sep 12, 2016
    Just wanted to update for anyone that may be interested.

    Well, it's been several months of dealing with the city, but progress has been made! After going back and forth to city committee meetings, getting signatures and support from my neighbors, and generally pestering the city to get what I want – the city is working on creating an ordinance for keeping chickens in Palos Heights, IL!

    Right now, the city attorney is writing up a draft of the new ordinance that will soon go up for review in the License, Permit and Franchise Committee. Once they have reviewed, made the changes that they see fit, and voting, it will go to the City Council for review and approval.

    License, Permit and Franchise Committee review should be on June 13, 2017 (assuming everything stays on schedule and doesn’t get postponed.)

    The wheels of government move slowly, but things are happening! I will update in the future with any new progress.
     
  10. Millezille

    Millezille New Egg

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    May 31, 2017
    Hi Weayway,

    Do you know if the review is still occurring today? Is there anything we can do to help? Thanks for all of your efforts moving this along!
     

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