Salem Lakes keeps two acre minimum for chicken keeping

You will need a piece of land at least two acres in size if you want to legally keep chickens in Salem Lakes.

Last week the board enacted an ordinance setting that limit, despite some comments from citizens asking for consideration of allowing the birds on smaller lots.

The vote was 4-3 with President Diann Tesar and Trustee Dennis Faber, Bill Hopkins and Dan Campion voting yes and Trustees Ron Gandt, Ted Kmiec and Mike Culat voting no.

The board has been considering formalizing chicken keeping standards for several months. As with many matters, the former town of Salem ordinance and the former village of Silver Lake ordinances didn’t match.

Essentially the board kept the old town of Salem ordinance’s requirement for a minimum residential lot size of two acres. New provisions included standards for setback for coops, no roosters allowed and an exemption for one chicken kept as a youth project, such as 4-H.

Some residents at the meeting spoke out against the two-acre requirement.

Peter Poli, during citizen’s comments, said Lake County, Illinois has had success with allowing chicken keeping on much smaller lots in unincorporated parts of the county. He contended most complaints there have been about noise from roosters, which the Lake County and Salem Lakes laws both prohibit.

“People have an interest in it,” Poli said of chicken keeping. “I’d like to see some reasonable ordinance so people will not be keeping chickens against ordinance.”

Resident Patrick Hull said much more urban locations than Salem Lakes are allowing chickens on much smaller properties.

“It’s so puzzling because we have big cities allowing chickens,” Hull said. “Chickens add so much to mental health for some.”

Resident Sharon Pomaville compared the chicken keeping requirements to dog keeping rules on her quarter of an acre property.

“There’s no way I could ever have a chicken on my property yet there are about 25 dogs in the neighborhood,” Pomaville said. “The two acres I think is really large.”

Trustee Culat said he felt two acres was too large.

“Two acres is a pretty good chunk of land,” Culat said

Trustees in favor of the two-acre limit defended the standard as making sure chickens are not a nuisance to neighbors.

“They attract rats, they attract skunks …” Faber said of chickens.

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