The bird request is back again

Chicken Champions group asks village to change its mind and allow residents to keep feathered friends

A group of Saukville residents who sought an ordinance amendment that would have allowed residents to raise chickens are hoping to bring the matter back to the Village Board for consideration.

Tim Schwister, leader of the Saukville Chicken Champions group, brought the ordinance amendment to the Village Board last August but the change was voted down in a 4-3 vote. The vote aligned with the Plan Commission’s decision, which unanimously voted down the amendment.

The amendment would have allowed single-family home owners to raise up to four hens on their property so long as they received permits to do so and chicken coops were signed off by the Plan Commission.

In addition to other requirements and regulations, the amendment required owners to properly care for their chickens and that they not pose a nuisance to neighbors.

Those in support of chickens in the village cited a number of benefits including fresh eggs, learning opportunities for children and pet companionship.

Trustees voting against the amendment cited noise and smell from chickens, decreasing property values and the animals potentially attracting predators as main reasons for opposing the change.

Schwister said the amendment would bring the village in line with nearby municipalities that allow chickens in residential areas such as the villages of Grafton and Fredonia, as well as the cities of Milwaukee and Cedarburg.

While the amendment failed to pass, Schwister said there is still strong support for chickens in Saukville and that he wants to bring the amendment back for consideration.

But the chicken champion said his group is facing a financial roadblock before moving forward.

Schwister said filing fees and other expenses associated with pushing the amendment through are costly.

Before gearing up for another campaign, which last year involved yard signs and supporters holding signs along village roads, Schwister said he will need community support.

He said he is seeking community donations to support the project, or even pro bono counsel that could support the group’s efforts as it works through village processes. Schwister added that he may also explore legal avenues for bringing the matter to referendum through signature collection if that is a possibility.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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