St. Clair County family raises chickens and ducks
Even though the St. Clair County Zoning Board of Appeals already said it was against having domesticated farm animals in residential areas, it will have to again consider allowing chickens in residential areas.
Jason Roedl, 34, who resides outside Belleville along Eiler Road, is asking that the county allow chickens in single-family residential areas for private use only. His proposal includes requiring that a lot have at least 1,500 square feet allotted for each animal.
When resident Meghan DeGroot brought her request to the St. Clair Zoning Board of Appeals in August, she asked that all domesticated farm animals be allowed, even though she had only chickens, goats and ducks. Her petition ultimately was rejected.
Roedl’s petition is much more narrow and requests only permission to have chickens. He said if other people want other types of animals, they could bring forward their own petitions.
He and his wife, Christina, along with their two children, grow their own tomatoes, corn, carrots, lettuce, peppers, watermelons, okra, grapes, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries. They hope to add an apple tree and cherry tree.
I don’t see how we can be lumped in with people who live in unincorporated areas in town.
Jason Roedl, a resident who lives outside of Belleville and is petitioning to be allowed to have residential chickens.
Having the 21 chickens on their one-acre lot is part of their effort to be self-sustaining. He said any extra eggs he has are given to neighbors or co-workers.
“We have them for their eggs,” Roedl said. “When they stop producing eggs, we’ll have them processed for their meat.”
The Roedl family lives outside the city of Belleville, and in an area that has larger lots. Jason Roedl thought his area was considered a rural area rather than single family residential. Roedl said he has enough space on his property to meet the proposed rule of 1,500 square feet per animal.
“I don’t see how we can be lumped in with people who live in unincorporated areas in town,” Roedl said.
He added he takes the chickens to a professional to process them for meat.
Anne Markezich, the county zoning department director, said her office received a complaint that Roedl’s chickens were running through the street.
I don’t think they (the Zoning Board of Appeals) will be welcoming with open arms, I don’t think they’ll give as much time to him.
Anne Markezich, St. Clair County Zoning Department director
Markezich said even though Roedl might have a lot more space in his area, he is trying to change rules for all the unincorporated residential areas of the county.
Zoning board members already have voiced their opinion on the matter, Markezich said.
“I don’t think they will be welcoming with open arms, I don’t think they’ll give as much time to him,” Markezich said.
In a packet provided to the county, Roedl listed possible regulations for allowing chickens in residential areas, including having people obtain annual permits and notifying neighbors to allow them to object.
As part of Jason Roedl’s proposal to allow chickens in unincorporated residential areas of St. Clair County, he recommended not allowing breeding, roosters or slaughtering of chickens.
Some of those possible regulations include prohibitions against roosters, slaughtering of chickens and breeding.
Other possible rules proposed by Roedl included chicken coops being predator-proof, properly maintained and easily cleaned, and kept at least 5 feet from property lines. He also recommended feed be stored in rodent-proof containers.
The Roedl’s have built a coop, with wire mesh to keep predators out, for about $2,000.
Two weeks after the zoning board recommended rejecting DeGroot’s petition, Roedl received his violation notice from the county zoning department.
“It’s something we should have checked into before we got the chickens,” Roedl said.
“We live on a main road,” Roedl added. “It’s not hard to see our chickens.”
- What: St. Clair County Zoning Board of Appeals
- When: 7 p.m. Monday
- Where: St. Clair County Courthouse, 10 Public Square Room B-564, Belleville