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Fox Lake OKs ordinance to allow domestic chickens

Published: Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013 5:08 p.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013 8:01 p.m. CDT

FOX LAKE – Nearly a year after rejecting a ordinance that would have allowed some Fox Lake residents to raise hens, the Fox Lake Village Board changed its mind.

In a 5-1 vote Tuesday evening, the board approved an ordinance that allows those living on plots zoned single-family residential to raise hens if they obtain a $50 permit, up to four on lots less than an acre and up to eight on larger lots.

The ordinance has some minor changes from when it was rejected in a 4-2 vote in January, including increasing the required square footage per hen for the coop, changing a complete prohibition on the slaughter of hens on the property to no outdoor slaughter, and eliminating the explicit prohibition on the sale of eggs.

However, it wasn't so much the changes in the proposed ordinance as the changes on the board that heralded the ordinance's passage.

An election in April put then-Trustee Donny Schmit – one of the two trustees who voted in favor of the original ordinance – into the village presidency and brought in three new trustees, all of them from his party's slate.

"I was for it, and everyone that ran with me on my slate were with me," Schmit said. "We were all for it. We didn't think it was any detriment to the village. There won't be any roosters, no outside slaughter, and we've got regulations on the cages."

Only one of the four trustees who voted against original ordinance remains on the Village Board, Trustee Nancy Koske who voted against the proposal again on Tuesday.

Koske did not return a call for comment Thursday, but in January, she raised concerns about potential eyesores.

"I'm just not in favor of it," she said at the January meeting. "I think it would be a mess. I just think it's one more thing that will cause us problems. We have enough trouble trying to get people to clean up their yards."

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