St. Charles aldermen don’t see need to strengthen city’s backyard chicken regulations

Issue discussed at Jan. 11 St. Charles City Council Planning and Development Committee meeting

St. Charles aldermen do not feel the city needs to strengthen its regulations regarding backyard chickens and residential chicken coops.

Aldermen discussed the issue at the St. Charles City Council Planning and Development Committee meeting on Jan. 11. At the Dec. 7 City Council meeting, a resident had raised concerns about her neighbor on Timbers Court being able to have chickens.

She suggested the city put additional restrictions in place, including requiring that residents who want to raise chickens have at least a one-acre lot and that the coop be positioned furthest away from any neighboring livable space, such as patios or decks.

Residential chickens have been permitted in St. Charles for more than 25 years. The city started regulating chickens in 2014.

As part of those regulations, residents can only keep up to six chickens and roosters are prohibited. The chickens must be kept in a fenced area at all times that is no closer than five feet to any property line and all areas where hens are maintained must be maintained in a neat and clean manner.

Currently, residents do not need a permit or license to install a chicken coop or keep chickens. St. Charles economic development planner Ciara Miller told alderman that backyard chickens have not been a source of many complaints, noting there were only two code enforcement complaints in the past year that were both resolved.

Miller said the city could add more regulations, including increasing the setback requirements, establishing a minimum lot size and implementing a residential chicken permit or registration program. But aldermen didn’t feel any additional restrictions were needed.

“I don’t want to get into permitting coops and things like that,” 4th Ward Alderman David Pietryla said.

First Ward Alderman Ron Silkaitis agreed.

“I don’t think it’s a big problem,” he said. “I’m willing to keep it the way it is.”

First Ward Alderman Dan Stellato said he hasn’t had any problems in his ward.

“Chickens, if they do escape, really don’t pose much of a threat,” he said. “I think it’s working fine. I would not agree to any type of size restrictions because it literally would say nobody in town could have a chicken coop and I don’t think that’s fair.”

Eric Schelkopf

Eric Schelkopf covers St. Charles and writes entertainment stories for the Kane County Chronicle.