Danville zoning laws: Changes would allow chicken, goat raising

Danville zoning laws: Changes would allow chicken, goat raising

DANVILLE — Chickens and goats, but not roosters, may be coming to Danville later this year if newly drafted zoning laws survive scrutiny from residents and city officials.

City Planner Cole Jackson said the poultry part is the "most questionable" of proposed zoning changes that promote a variety of urban agricultural uses within the city.

"We'll put it out there and see what everyone thinks," Jackson said, referring to allowing residents to have chickens — something city leaders haven't been willing to consider in the past.

Jackson said that idea could still be removed from the draft after officials weigh input over the next month from residents and planning and zoning commission members.

But Danville administrators would like to see other aspects of urban agriculture within the city, from hoop houses and greenhouses to grow things on vacant lots to more solar arrays and wind turbines.

The proposed zoning laws would streamline the process of getting approvals for property owners to install panels and turbines in the city both for private and commercial use.

Solar has grown in popularity in Champaign County the past several years, especially through Solar Urbana-Champaign, a grass-roots residential and commercial group purchasing program.

In the first phase of that program in 2016, there were 605 kilowatts of installed solar capacity completed across 81 installations in Champaign County. In Phase 2 last year, another 447 kilowatts of installed capacity was completed, according to Scott Tess, environmental sustainability manager for the city of Urbana.

"Which was double what I expected," Tess said.

Jackson said Danville has many vacant lots where residents could apply these new uses. And the proposed zoning changes would give them that opportunity.

The city is asking for the public's opinion on the proposed changes on its website. Residents can read through the entire draft there, too.

The plan is for the draft to undergo revisions before the planning and zoning commission votes on the changes next month, according to Jackson.