Six chickens and a duck can stay in Schaumburg backyard, village trustees decide unanimously
The Year of the Rabbit has just begun, but it's already proving to be a good one for six chickens and a duck in Schaumburg as well.
Six weeks after a diminished village board could reach only a 2-2 tie as to whether the birds discovered by inspectors in a Schaumburg backyard could remain, a slightly reconfigured board voted unanimously that they could Tuesday.
The family raising the animals on a 27,000-square-foot property on the 300 block of Pleasant Drive now has a special-use permit.
The earlier stalemate was caused in part by the board vacancy created by the early December death of Trustee Frank Kozak, as well as Trustee Jamie Clar's decision to recuse himself because he is a neighbor of the family keeping the birds.
It seemed at the time that the issue would have to be resolved by a newly appointed trustee.
But even though Tuesday's meeting was the first for Trustee Esha Patel, Clar reconsidered his earlier recusal after he was advised by Village Attorney Lance Malina that being a neighbor didn't constitute a legal conflict of interest.
Furthermore, Trustees George Dunham and Mark Madej changed their original "no" votes to "yes" on Tuesday.
Clar said he was persuaded to vote "yes" due to the large size of the property, the location of the backyard shed and outdoor pen away from neighboring properties, and their well-maintained condition.
These are the only chickens and duck currently in Schaumburg for which a permit has been approved.
Village staff members recommend approval of the chickens in this particular case, but not the noisier duck that could be heard from the front of the property when they visited.
Nevertheless, the family included the duck in its request, and the plan commission unanimously recommended it as well back in November.
While the duck was described as a recent addition, the owners have been keeping chickens on the property for decades.
The village's health division examined the 16-by-12-foot shed and 12-by-12-foot outdoor pen and found them to be as well maintained as the owner claimed, Schaumburg Community Planner Marisa Krawiec said.
This was the first formal request to keep chickens the village has received since 1993, when permission was granted to keep up to 20 of them on a property on the 200 block of Wakefield Lane that's nearly as large and as screened from neighbors.
While that resident is still there, the chickens haven't been for some time, Krawiec said.
There have been five other instances in the past few years in which the keeping of chickens, roosters or ducks was reported to the village through customer service requests. But in every case, the owners got rid of the animals without even seeking a permit.