SALEM LAKES — Village officials have abandoned a plan to form a special committee to review its regulations on the keeping of chickens in residential areas.
Rather, it will take public comment on the issue Monday at its Committee of the Whole meeting.
Resident Jamie Tackett, who was found to be in violation of the related ordinance as it was amended last year, asked village president Diann Tesar this week for an update on the formation of the committee approved by a unanimous vote of the board on Feb. 18.
Tesar said because all village trustees expressed an interest in serving on the committee, the decision was made to involve everyone in an inclusive setting.
Resident Peter Poli, who had hoped to serve as a citizen member of the committee, said the announcement was “super disappointing.”
He is not only encouraging people to attend the meeting next week, but also to call and email village officials with their opinions.
The existing ordinance, adopted last October, is more strict than the one the town of Salem had on the books prior to its merger with Silver Lake. It allows four hens on properties of 2 acres or more.
Previously, town of Salem residents were allowed up to 20 chickens, geese or ducks on properties of 2 or more acres.
Poli said experienced chicken raisers have pointed out problems with the ordinance.
For example, it requires a 64-square-foot coop for four hens that must be elevated 2 feet above the ground, be movable and have an attached run.
“Basically they need a $2,000 garden shed on stilts to comply with this ordinance as written,” Poli said. “And then it has to be on wheels.”
He pointed to a Lake County ordinance that requires coops to have 3 square feet per hen. Lake County also allows chickens to be kept on less than 2 acres.
Biodynamics of chickens
Sharon Pomaville, a resident of nearly 30 years, has voiced her support for residential chicken-keeping numerous times at public meetings.
“Over the years, I’ve learned the importance of biodynamics and how it can be implemented small scale,” Pomaville said. “Chickens are an excellent example of small-scale biodynamics for the everyday person. I would be so happy to know I could add it as a sustainable living option here in Salem Lakes.”
Poli said the number of eggs a chicken lays depends on several factors. A Leghorn under optimum conditions will lay one egg per day.
At their loudest, chickens have about the same decibel level as human conversation (60 to 70 decibels), Poli said, while dogs reach 90 decibels.
“Unlike dogs, chickens are also quiet at night while roosting,” Poli said.
He said one 40-pound dog produces about three-quarters of a pound of waste daily, while 10 chickens combined produce about two-thirds of a pound of waste per day that can be combined with leaf and lawn cuttings and composted.
Also, chickens eat ticks, fleas, mosquitoes, grasshoppers, stink bugs, slugs, mice and small snakes, Poli said.