LAKE BLUFF — A pilot program for backyard chicken coops and beehives is a step closer to reality in Lake Bluff.
The village’s Sustainability and Community Enhancement Ad Hoc Committee unanimously approved separate ordinances for pilot programs for bees and chickens October 5 at Village Hall, sending the ordinances to the Village Board of Trustees for a final decision.
Glen Cole, assistant to the village administrator, said he anticipates the board will discuss the proposed ordinances during a Committee of the Whole meeting later this month or in November.
“This should be ready by the time you want to start raising chickens in the spring,” said Cole to Nancy Drowne, a resident who said during the meeting she wanted to be part of the pilot program.
“Tell your husband he can go ahead and build but don’t order yet,” added Marina Carney Puryear, a S&CE committee co-chair.
Drowne was the only member of the public who spoke before the committee began its brief deliberations. She let the committee know her plans.
“My husband wants to build a quality coop,” Drowne.
A permit is required. The proposed chicken ordinance allows hens but not roosters. Participants can have as many as six and no less than two. The birds must be kept in a pen, coop or other structure containing four square feet for each chicken. They must be kept in a rear yard and their home must be at least 10 feet away from any neighboring residence.
The chickens and eggs produced are not allowed for commercial purposes, according to the ordinance. The sale of eggs is not allowed and should an owner choose to slaughter a chicken, it cannot be done in public view.
While not required, a chicken keeping course is recommended.
The only discussion before the vote on the chicken ordinance was whether to make health recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention part of the legislation or merely educate participants.
Committee Co-Chair Brian Rener asked if committee members wanted to make the CDC suggestions part of the ordinance or merely attach them to a permit application. The consensus of the group was not to require it. Puryear said attaching the recommendations will have benefits.
“If we attach them hopefully it will keep children from bringing their pet to school,” said Puryear.
The proposed bee ordinance is more restrictive. Before residents can apply they must provide proof their hives have been registered with the Illinois Department of Agriculture, according to the proposed ordinance. They must give the village proof they have notified all neighbors.
No more than three hives per residence is allowed, according to the proposed ordinance. They must be at least five-feet from any neighboring property and 10 feet from sidewalks or other public rights of way. They must be out of view from anyone other than the property owner.
In cases where the beekeeper’s property does not have a fence, the hives must be enclosed by an appropriate barrier, according to the ordinance. The owner must erect a “flyway” barrier to assure bees fly at least six feet above ground level at property lines. There must be sufficient water to keep the bees from congregating around swimming pools or other water sources.
The Village Board can terminate either program at any time, according to the ordinances.