Shiloh village trustees unanimously passed measure during Monday night’s village committee meeting to allow chickens in village limits. The idea will not be up for a final OK until the regular board meeting on June 5.
Trustees combed through the foreseeable pros and cons of the ordinance during discussion prior to voting, but all in all agreed while it will be interesting to have as an option for village residents,
Mayor Jim Vernier said he doesn’t “anticipate any problems” with the idea.
“There are some residents who have chickens already, and this makes it legal for them, and we’ve not had any complaints from anyone that I know of about chickens in the past. And, I do think it’s a nice benefit for residents who want to take advantage of the health opportunities of farm- or home-raised chickens (and eggs) versus store-bought,” Vernier said.
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According to John Marquart, village administrator, other neighboring communities have allowed similar harbor of “hobby” or “backyard” chickens, such as Swansea, Collinsville and Fairview Heights.
Trustee Colleen Powers, Mark Herrmann, Kurt Burrelsman, Bob Weilmuenster and Greg O’Neil all said they don’t have any problems with the ordinance amendment but did identify some issues that could arise in the future, namely enclosures meeting the code specifications or becoming possible eye sores down the line.
The amendment would allow residents of single-family housing to keep up to six chickens, if the property is less than one acre, and no more than 12 chickens if the property is over one acre.
Powers voiced her concerns about the size of land in relation to the number of chickens and the types of structures people may erect during discussion.
“I think that you should have at least one acre or more to have them. The thing that I’m worried about is you have a neighbor that butts up against you in the back. I don’t know, that seems like it’s going to be a problem,” Powers said.
O’Neil posed a hypothetical question, inquiring how many birds would be appropriate for homes with less than an acre of land.
“Because 99 percent of the houses here have less than an acre,” O’Neil said.
Herrmann echoed Powers’ concerns of aesthetic appearance of the coops.
“Somebody may put a nice structure together, (but) somebody else may just throw a bunch of chicken wire together,” Herrmann said.
Marquart reminded trustees of the stipulation that the amendment is also subject to regulation, and subdivision homeowners association restrictions, and excludes business zoned areas.
“This ordinance does not have permit requirements. Quite frankly, we don’t have the time or the resources to inspect chickens,” Marquart said.
Another concern — will the chickens disturb the peace?
Weilmuenster said there are dogs that are more of a noise nuisance than chickens would be, which O’Neil reiterated.
“They don’t make noise, much. And we’re prohibiting roosters,” Burrelsman said.
▪ The spending limit was increased for department heads from $5,000 to $7,500. The limit hasn’t been changed in 25 years. The state law puts the limit at $20,000 before a project or purchase must be competitively bid. All other purchase must be authorized administratively through Marquart.
▪ Yorktown Golf Course manager Scott Barkhaus’ yearly contract was renewed for $99,700.
▪ Amendment to municipal code was passed to decrease the length of time property owners have to abate a nuisance on their property. Previously, owners were permitted to have an unsightly yard or premises where there is an accumulation or deposit of waste, earth, unlicensed and inoperable equipment, junk, vehicles or otherwise had an excess of 60 days; now that’s changed from unsightly yard and earth or waste accumulation to an excess of 15 days. The accumulation of junk, vehicles, unlicensed and inoperable equipment will change from 60 to seven days.
▪ A personnel manual update was approved for the purpose of uniformity of allowable vacation hours correlated with those employed 15 or more years, and all overtime compensation must be used within 30 days of accrual.
▪ Cell tower modification request was OK’d for a T-Mobile collocation upgrade (radio swaps) at 1 Hill St. to improve wireless communication services.
▪ Annexations, at the request of property owner, of 2332, 2333 and 2334 Richland Prairie Blvd. were approved.
▪ A solicitor’s application renewal for Emmett Talkington, representing Edward Jones, was approved.
▪ The annual funding for the Programs and Services for Older Persons (PSOP) activities program at the Shiloh Senior Center passed. Funding is not to exceed $20,000, using park funds. The amount is the same as 2016.
▪ Staff was authorized go out for bid on Community Park/Municipal Building parking lot improvements, once the design is complete. Design is not to exceed $10,500. Park park and/or Tax Increment Finance (TIF) B funds will be used to pay for designs.
▪ A low bid of $33,584 by Calhoun Construction was approved to create three new 14-foot by 14-foot concrete pads and shelters. A $30,000 grant from St. Clair County Parks Grant Commission will help fund the project, with the village chipping in and $3,584.
▪ A demolition bid for 316 S. Main St. and 209 Kay St. for $19,300, made by S. Shafer Excavating. Funding will come from TIF B funds.
▪ A change order to upgrade drainage structure size along Three Springs Lake Trail was approved for $64,424 using TIF A funds. Christ Brothers Asphalt is the contractor.
▪ A public safety, weather and emergency related items community notification system to be implemented. Possible village events or notices will be included. Residents will have to sign up with email and phone numbers at a later date once implemented.
▪ The board voted to close a public parking space on the northwest corner at the intersection of Main Street at West Julie Street. in the interest of public safety. Vehicles parked there obstruct Bi-State bus drivers’ ability to see passengers at the bus stop. Closing the space will also allow school crossing guards better lines of sight.
▪ Police officer staffing of one additional officer was approved.
▪ A supplemental resolution for the 2017 Motor Fuel Tax maintenance program using $100,000 MFT funds for additional road maintenance work, such as oil and chip and fog sealing, was passed.
▪ Engineering agreement with Thouvenot, Wade and Moerchen (TWM) to provide bid documents for roadway improvement projects, not to exceed $9,850 using general funds, was passed.
▪ Smoke testing and CCTV of Maple Street sewer mains, not to exceed $34,334 using sewer funds, was approved.