Opposition to backyard chicken coops grows
This rooster, found in a Glencoe garage a year ago, was illegal in the village, as is all live poultry. A drive to legalize backyard chicken-coops, however, is limited to hens. |Katie Sweeney photo courtesy Glencoe Department of Public Safety
Updated: November 26, 2012 2:47PM
The legalization of backyard henhouses is on the rocks before it even gets to the Village Board.
Chief proponent Kevin Q. Harvey claims more than 100 petition signatures “without even trying hard,” but some neighbors are trying harder to stop it.
Mayfair Lane neighbor Lee Goldberg recently mailed 218 anti-“chicken ranch” letters to surrounding homes, suggesting residents send “short objecting letters” to Village Hall.
Dozens fluttered in, all negative, Glencoe Trustee Bruce Cowans said Monday.
“Personally, with that much opposition, I need for support to be substantially ahead of opposition,” he said.
It was Cowans who suggested Sept. 20 holding no public hearings on the issue until Harvey collected supporting signatures on a petition.
Now, many of the negative letters, he said, follow Goldberg’s assertion that backyard coops are noisy and smelly, which Cowans doesn’t believe.
“I don’t think they’re noisy or smelly in the numbers that we’re talking about” in backyards, Cowans said. “But I think the public thinks so.
“How much do I want to make it my point in politics to guide people to perceive it differently?”
At this point, the opposition means he’d consider a cooperative coop at a park or school, but nothing in yards.
One letter being circulated includes claims that poultry diseases jump to humans, though experts say that’s extremely rare, especially in the United States.
Village President Scott Feldman said Friday, “If something is really important, it can override a (not in my backyard) sort of response.
“How important is this?”
Harvey considers coop-keeping a matter of individual rights, maintaining negatives are few. He said issues like attraction of coyotes should be debated in public hearings, with expert testimony.
The anti-chicken letters are “misinformed pleas,” encouraged by trustees’ reticence to hold hearings, he said Friday.
“My understanding is the board does not want a great deal of controversy, and they are … chicken, themselves.”
The first line of Goldberg’s letter noted that Harvey’s family lives in his mother’s house, adding that “Mr. Harvey has no care about and concern for the neighborhood …”
Friday, he called Harvey “a rabble-rouser (who) could go tomorrow, so he’s not going to care too much about the neighborhood.”
Harvey maintained, “I’m not just living in my mother’s house. I’m helping take care of my mother. She’s 90 years old, and we’ve worked pretty hard so that she’s able to stay at home.”~.