Salem Lakes adopts chicken keeping ordinance

Salem Lakes has adopted a chicken keeping ordinance that reduces the size of residential lots where chickens can be kept, but still deems a little over half of the village’s lots too small.

The ordinance passed by a 5 to 2 vote, with Trustees Ron Gandt and Ted Kmiec — both advocates of a smaller minimum lot size — voting against.

The new ordinance allows people with a lot as small as 15,000 square feet to keep six chickens. Lots over 1 acre to 2 acres can keep eight chickens and lots over 2 acres 20 chickens.

Under the village’s old ordinance, lots had to be two acres to have any chickens.

The passage of the ordinance ends a lengthy period of discussion and stops and starts on the topic of chicken keeping stretching back into September 2017.

There was no discussion of the ordinance by board members on Monday before its passage. During citizens comments, Peter Poli, a community members who helped drive the effort to formulate a new ordinance, said to the board “thank you for all your hard work.”

Asked for comment via email, Gandt said his no vote was based on the minimum lot size being too large.

“I would have liked to have seen the lot size smaller  (10,000 sq. ft.) in size as most of the lots in the village are under the required 15,000 sq. ft. minimum,” Gandt said in an email.

About 51 percent of lots in the village are smaller than 15,000 square feet, according to info provided by village staff.

Kmiec, in a Facebook message to, said he also wanted a smaller minimum lot size and he also objected to a requirement for chicken owners to take a onetime chicken care class at a local business.

“I was in favor of 6 chickens regardless of lot size,” Kmiec wrote. “The setbacks in the ordinance protect neighbors. I feel that the ordinance passed tonight was too restrictive as to lot size. I also am against making a class a requirement for a permit. It’s overreaching on our part. Do we require classes for dogs, cats, birds or other pets? Some will want to keep a couple of chickens as pets. I don’t agree with imposing that requirement on our citizens.”

The ordinance is available here.

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