What started with citizen inquiry about raising egg producing chickens in Deerfield is about to turn into a one-year pilot program that promises to be as much a work in progress as the discussion about the issue at Monday’s Village Board of Trustees meeting.
If things go according to plan, the Board will vote on a one-year test program Feb. 18 that will let up to five residents have as many as four egg producing chickens in an approved coop in their yard. No roosters or hens no longer able to lay eggs will be allowed.
Earlier: Chicken Ordinance Takes First Step
Citizens began to ask questions of the Village, according to Assistant to the Village Manager Andrew Lichterman. “We got letters from residents,” he said. “We took a look to see what could be done.”
The Trustees and Mayor Harriet Rosenthal had a detailed discussion during a meeting of the Committee of the Whole in November and directed the Village staff to develop a program. That plan was presented Monday.
During the first reading of the ordinance Monday, both potential chicken owners and trustees had more questions than answers as they had a conversation about the potential pitfalls. Trustee Alan Farkas recognized the need for a deliberate approach.
“There will be room to evolve down the line,” Farkas said. He also indicated an all inclusive ordinance allowing anyone wishing license to get one immediately by meeting the rules would not be likely to pass today. “Opposition is based on fear and misunderstanding.”
Two Deerfield residents who plan to take advantage of the pilot program are Barbara and James Solheim. They came before the Board with a plan and questions about their intent.
“We want to get chicks,” Barbara Solheim said. “We understand in five or ix months they will be laying and (keep it up) for a couple of years. After that we want to keep them as pets” She wanted to know if she could keep the hens beyond their egg laying years.
She got some reassurance from Trustee Mary Oppenheim “Anyone who will be here in the beginning will be there for the next step,” she said. “We would expect (the original licensees) to be first in line to have their licenses renewed.”
Though a number of trustees expressed support, not all were in agreement. “Would I want a chicken coop next door and the answer is no,” Trustee William Seiden said.
Trustee Barbara Struthers has no problem with the proposal. “I grew up with chickens in my yard and this is fine,” she said.