Sidney zoning board to get chicken question

SIDNEY – A Sidney resident who wants to have chickens allowed within the village limits will take his request to the town's zoning board.

On Monday, the village board heard a proposal from Chris Cook to allow residents to have hens on their property. Trustees asked Cook to take his request to the zoning board of appeals, which will meet at 7 p.m. Sept. 14 at the community building at 221 S. David St.

Cook, a father of four, said hens would provide access to a cheap and healthy supply of organic eggs.

"Chickens also make good pets and are fun to watch," he said. "Chickens receive a bad rap due to the increasing number of super-farms."

Cook added that while roosters crow, hens make "a gentle clucking" sound, which he said is much quieter than a dog's barking.

"Smell is only an issue if a chicken's quarters are not properly maintained," he said. "Chicken feces is actually good for the soil and replenishes nutrients."

Cook proposed an ordinance that would include a $30 permit annually that would be used to offset the cost of randomly inspecting backyard chicken coops. Cook also suggested requiring chickens to be kept in an approved coop and fenced run no closer than 25 feet to a neighboring dwelling.

Village Attorney Paul Hendren pointed out that the village would not have the legal right to go on residents' properties to inspect chicken coops.

A couple of residents in attendance at the village board meeting expressed support for the proposal, provided that there were limitations set.

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sahuoy wrote on September 09, 2010 at 5:09 pm

I hope you get your chickens Mr. Cook and Sidney. Give it a try and adjust as necessary. Its a great natural way of life for everyone to enjoy in addition to the fresh organic eggs. I wish we could have chickens in the city of Champaign but understandably I would prefer to live outside of town anyway.