It’s hard to resist a good chicken joke, but all giggling aside, the question of whether to allow backyard chickens here in Elmhurst is actually quite a serious matter. We’re not alone, either; communities across the nation are struggling to find the balance between individual freedom and public welfare, community property values, and personal finances. So, where are we so far in our own local debate?

The current municipal code (.pdf download available here) prohibits residents from keeping most farm animals, including poultry. In early September, 3rd Ward alderman, Dannee Polomsky, and 2nd Ward aldermen Bob Dunn and Norman Leader presented the issue to the City Council for consideration. At the time, it was referred to the Planning and Zoning Committee–too late to make the committee’s September agenda, but the Committee may take up the issue this month.

In the meantime, there has been a good deal of support for the idea from local residents. In particular, Sarah Makinney sponsored a petition asking the City Council to allow residents to keep a small number of hens within city limits (you can read, and sign, the petition here). Throughout our region, there are cities and towns that do allow chickens in urban backyards: Evanston, Naperville, Oak Park, and even the City of Chicago. Batavia also adopted a chicken ordinance, but it came about only after a protracted public debate followed by a narrowly split vote. Plainfield is also likely to join the list of municipalities allowing chickens in urban backyards before very long.

Proponents of the plan cite the potential economic and nutritional benefits of poultry keeping. Detractors worry about the possibility of noise, odors and disease. Proponents counter that these worries could also apply to any animals kept at home, and that we give away too much of our individual freedom by ceding control to our government. It’s a very complex issue from any perspective despite the urge to have a laugh about it.

No matter on which side of the debate you find yourself, it’s clear that Elmhurst is a vibrant, thoughtful community committed to the best interests of its residents. Why not join us? The Gracik Makinney Real Estate Group is here to help. With community knowledge, industry experience, and personal dedication, our team is the best place to start on the road to your home-ownership dreams. Contact us today at 540 South York St. in Elmhurst, or at (630) 567-5902.