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NORMAL — Residents will have a chance to crow or cry fowl at the idea of urban chicken coops in Normal.

The City Council agreed Monday to send a proposed ordinance allowing and regulating chicken coops to the planning commission for a public hearing.  The commission would make a recommendation to the council but the final decision would rest with the council.

Councilmen Adam Nielsen and Jeff Fritzen voted against the idea.

“I’m concerned about sending to planning commission something that traditionally isn’t,” said Nielsen. “I’ve received a lot of input and also solicited comments.  I feel equipped to make a decision on this. I’m not sure what more could be added other than a long night for the planning commission.”

Councilwoman Sonja Reece disagreed, saying: “I think this merits public discussion. The topic is not uncommon for that body to deal with.”

Normal resident Mike Sebald asked the council to consider an ordinance allowing urban chicken coops. He already has constructed a coop and maintains the cost and time involved in raising chickens would not appeal to a large number of residents so it wouldn’t change the community.

The proposed ordinance prepared by town staff would allow for up to four hens of certain breeds and require a $5 permit, an enclosure and at least 25 feet of distance between the chickens and adjacent lots.

Residents could not have roosters and could not slaughter chickens.

Besides addressing chickens, the proposed ordinance also would set guidelines for riding horses raised within the town limits. Current code allows riding horses but doesn’t include regulations.

Horse owners would be required to have at least 10,000 square feet of open space per horse and at least 25 feet between a barn, shed, stable or other enclosure for horses and any residence.


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