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Backyard Hens Proposal Back in Palatine

The Zoning Board of Appeals will consider another appeal from a different resident who wants to house hens for eggs in the village. Members from 11 different households have voiced their opposition.

The propsition for backyard hens in Palatine is coming back before the village of Palatine this week.

Thirty-three year Palatine resident Steven Brosio will attend a public hearing held by the Zoning Board of Appeals Tuesday, in hopes of ultimately being allowed an Accessory Unique Use to permit a chicken coop on his property at 624 Hill Road. 

The proposal must first go before the zoning board before being considered by the Palatine village council

In August of 2012, Brosio was approached by the village after a complaint regarding hens in his backyard

In a September 2012 letter to Village Manager Reid Ottesen, Brosio stated he had been raising chickens in his backyard for approximately ten years, but did not do so from 2010 until the Spring of 2012 due to his work interfering with properly caring for the chickens.

Prior to 2005, Brosio's property was in unincorporated Palatine, and chickens are permitted by Cook County.

But when his property was annexed into Palatine due to a neighbor needing an easement, the raising of chickens was in violation of village code, which he said he was unaware of. 

"It’s a hobby, I’m in the process now of seeing if I can keep my chickens," Brosio said. "It is something I really like doing, I don't see anything wrong with having them; my coop is close to 200 feet away from any homes, I'm not intruding on anyone." 

In addition to housing chickens, Brosio says he has a large garden on his close to two-acre property. 

"We eat and can our own vegetables, myself and my wife are trying to provide as healthy of a diet as possible for ourselves and our three children," Brosio said. 

Brosio said the eggs from hens are better, and healthier than anyone can buy in a supermarket.

"You can see and taste the difference. Eggs from backyard hens have been tested, and they are actually better for you than any store bought eggs," Brosio said. 

Meanwhile, 19 people from 11 households living nearby to Brosio have signed a neighbor's petition for denial, and have presented it to the Zoning Board to consider at the public hearing. 

At the hearing, Brosio said he simply hopes he will be given a chance to address the concerns of his neighbors.

"My expectations are different today than they were a week ago. I want to go in there, I will answer questions. I want time to talk to my neighbors," Brosio said.

"I am happy to answer any questions that people have. But maybe by being open to talking to me, people will realize it’s not a bad thing," Brosio said.

After close to a year of working toward approval, in November 2012, resident Vanessa Barsanti came before the village council to be allowed to have backyard hens on her property. After one resident refused to meet or speak with Barsanti about her concerns, the Palatine Village Council voted against her request due to the objection. 

Backyard hens are currently allowed in Evanston, Chicago, Naperville and Warrenville. 

The Zoning Board of Appeals will meet Tuesday, January 8 at the Community Center, 200 E. Wood Street at 7 p.m.  

Susan Eva January 07, 2013 at 02:47 AM
I hope people do end up realizing that backyard hens are not a bad thing and won't impact the neighborhood negatively. I think people are just ignorant about how innocuous they really are.
Hiram Walker January 07, 2013 at 12:55 PM
Hens lay eggs and are good. Roosters lay hens and are bad.
Lance Canania January 07, 2013 at 02:10 PM
Absolutely ridiculous! Ridiculous that the Zoning Board would deny a resident because there was one objection. If I am reading the correctly the objection refused to appear or even meet with the resident wishing to have hens. If it is not a nuisance then it should be allowed. As a matter of fact we should pursue a repeal of the backyard hen ban. Perhaps we should outlaw dogs. We can leave it up to residents and the Zoning Board to decide whether or not citizens may keep a dog. What's the difference? I'd be okay with that since my yard is frequently filled with dog feces from dog owners walking their dogs through the neighborhood. Not to mention incessant barking from the next street over. Makes sense, right? We need people who have and practice common sense and act as mediators in situations like these. We do not need people who simply fill a position and make decisions based upon others' opinions alone and "play it safe." For God's sake it is these people's property and we live in the United States of America! Has this what it has come to? The Village should be there to mediate issues where an owner of hens becomes a nuisance to his, or her, neighbors and from which there has been no resolution between the hen owner and neighbors. Not dictate what a resident may do or not do on their property. Zoning Board use your best judgment we all believe in you!
Rumpelstiltskin January 07, 2013 at 02:15 PM
most suburbs have a problem with wild animals looking for food as it is why invite trouble into the city. this is NOT a farming community.
Melanie Santostefano (Editor) January 07, 2013 at 02:16 PM
Hi Lance, good morning! It was not the Zoning Board of Appeals that voted against Mrs. Barsanti's request in November based on one neighbor who had issue with backyard hens and refused to communicate with her, it was the Palatine Village Council. Melanie
Matt January 07, 2013 at 02:38 PM
I am routing for the hens. Go Hens!
Betty Flamm January 07, 2013 at 02:49 PM
As one of the neighbors, and a 26 year resident of Palatine, I can tell you that there is nothing about these chickens that is a hazard as they receive immaculate care. I know what good care is because my grandparents had a chicken farm and raised chickens for eggs and breed shows. My grandfather took great pride in his prize winning flock (which at it's biggest was about 36 hens and roosters, and I see it with these. I hear no noise from them unless they are being fed something good. And then the noise is most welcome refrain from the Harleys that come roaring by during the good weather (Please don't take offense Harley owners - when you hear them from over 2000 feet away, they are still loud. Limits patio conversation). There are no smells (and I know chicken coop smells). Any increase in critter traffic is only because of construction around us, and because neighbors leave their bags of trash outdoors, not in cans/containers. And this has not been a typical residential area since we moved here. We have always had wildlife from the forest preserve. We see coyote in our yards at noon, deer at dawn or dusk, and I know exactly when to get the cat in during the red-tailed hawk's breakfast and dinner flights. We understand we share this land with them and protect our pets and children accordingly. They have never bothered us for that reason. Chickens only add to the critter merriment here. We have more problems with people who don't clean up after their dogs on the bike path.
Jacek January 07, 2013 at 03:26 PM
Alektorophobia is running rampant in Palatine!
Betty Flamm January 07, 2013 at 04:28 PM
I had a chance to review the petition. The research presented is solely based on "factory farming" - a favorite vegan term. In fact a vegan website is the source of most of the 'complaints' in the petition. I have nothing against vegans and will not tolerate blatant cruelty to animals. This backyard coop/garden with six hens and yards (not feet) of running space couldn't be more opposite, and is quite the chicken heaven. All they have to do is lay eggs and eat bugs off the garden plants and sometimes the vegetables....And as for the allegation that 'run-off' will go directly into their retention basin....if six chickens can produce enough run-off to make it even 50 feet, it would first have to go thru a 'holding' spot partially in a our yard, where if it doesn't soak in then, has to cross all 100 feet width of our yard, plus another 100 feet of another yard, before it gets near any holding basin. You'd think I should be the one complaining as we're on well water and none of the neighbors are. My mom is over 80 years old and grew up on a chicken/dairy farm.....I'll take my chances with the well-water.
Village Homesteaders of Palatine January 07, 2013 at 04:30 PM
I just wanted to invite everyone to a free screening of Mad City Chickens on February 8 at 7 PM. The screening is being hosted by Village Homesteaders of Palatine and sponsored by Countryside UU Church. The location for the event is 1025 N. Smith Street in Palatine. The movie is appropriate for all ages and is entertaining. Please share and invite your friends. Hope to see you there.
edmund January 07, 2013 at 06:03 PM
Rump...please come out of the dark ages and realize factory food is FAKE food.
Jim January 07, 2013 at 06:28 PM
If he had not stopped raising them between 2010 and 2011 I would agree they should be grandfathered in, at the least what would have been his existing flock. After that, he would need to conform with the Zoning Requirements.
Tom Lunde January 07, 2013 at 07:34 PM
Maybe we can host cockfighting matches at Lamplighter's.
Ron L. January 07, 2013 at 09:03 PM
This is not a referendum about factory farming, or which kind of eggs are better for you, or how it compares to other kinds of noise. Let's keep the discussion to any possible environmental impact upon the neighborhood. This might include critters, pollution, noise, smell, etc. If none of the neighbors object, then I say let the chickens in. Personally, I wouldn't want to listen to the clucking. Not what I signed up for when I bought my home in Palatine.
Vanessa January 07, 2013 at 09:42 PM
Lance, I encourage you to come to the Zoning Board hearing and any future council meetings regarding Steve's application. Any person can speak and we need reasonable voices like you to stand up and be heard!
Chicago Food Guy January 07, 2013 at 09:47 PM
Environmental impact? If people are so concerned about that, then 'people' need to move out of Palatine. We are the biggest hypocrites if we blame negative environmental impact on animals, let alone a few chicken. Every time I see the chicken coop issue arise, I shake my head in disbelief. How petty can people be?
Ellen January 07, 2013 at 11:33 PM
There is a ban on backyard hens in Palatine yet some think that those of us who don't want hens here should move out of Palatine. What kind of backwards logic is that?
Zelm January 08, 2013 at 12:27 AM
Thing is, we aren't all that far from open farmland. Just drive a few miles North or West and you've got miles and miles of farmlands. I guess I don't understand why awoke would want to live in a suburb but keep barnyard animals in their backyard. Why not move just a few miles away and do it right? Why cause all these crazy shenanigans with the neighbors and the village and bring more coyotes and other predators into the suburbs?
Zelm January 08, 2013 at 12:28 AM
Awoke = anyone (stupid autocorrect!)
Vanessa January 08, 2013 at 02:24 AM
Beyond the fact that I think the "if you don't like it, get out" attitude stifles progression, it isn't actually that easy to simply pick up and move. Especially when you own a home. Not to mention many other considerations like proximity to work/proximity to train, kids in school, etc. Separately, experts agree that chickens will not "bring more coyotes" into the suburbs. Coyote packs maintain territories and other packs typically will not cross territorial lines, lest face a fight for ground. Thus, no influx would occur. If you'd like to learn more about this come to the Zoning Board hearing where a video will be played of one of these experts.
Betty Flamm January 08, 2013 at 03:53 AM
You must be a newer resident of Palatine. When we moved here this was open farmland. And the farms I was exposed to as a kid had dogs and cats as barnyard animals. By your logic those should not be allowed in a Palatine backyards either.
Chicago Food Guy January 08, 2013 at 05:29 AM
I don't see anywhere that suggests chicken haters to move out of Palatine. The only backwards logic here is the ban on backyard chickens. If we ban chickens, dogs and cats need to go next. I am tired of picking up dog crap in my front yard which is way more of a health risk to my daughter than someones fenced in chicken. Also, maybe Palatine can have a patrol officer parked at Dirty Nellie's every night and keep the drunks from throwing trash in my yard and keep the noise down. That's more of a nuisance than a few chickens clucking in someone's back yard. I can think of a hundred more things more important than this issue, albeit too much government control in this case. If someone wants to provide their family with healthy food...so be it. All the power to them. If a neighbor has to stick their stuck up nose in other people's business...perhaps they should move out of Palatine. I wouldn't want you as a neighbor anyway.
edmund January 08, 2013 at 04:38 PM
To Ron L. Maybe you are misinformed. The "clucking" of which you speak is nothing compared with a dog barking or the roars from the "glorious" Harleys which are so revered in our pathetic society. Dogs and cats create more of a draw for the "fearsome" critters and smells of which you speak. In one sentence you say it is not about this, then in the next breath you choose exactly the parts of the environment of which you specifically care about. How convenient. Anyone with a brain recognizes Professionalized hypocrisy. We do not need to limit our conversation topics for your convenience!
edmund January 08, 2013 at 04:50 PM
These suburbs and all their rampant fear of chickens is all just so pitiful. Just take a look at the Real problems of which we do Nothing about. Within a block of my house a person was almost killed by a dog. Yearly, in Palatine, there are dog attacks on toddlers which result in surgeries. Are chickens responsible for our horrific traffic accidents or drug overdose deaths? Grow up Palatine! Here we have a resident who wants real, healthy food, but no, the all important village gov must step in and limit their inherent property rights. Sounds more like communism/gov. oppression to me.

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