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Cock-a-doodle-deferred? After ‘urban farmers’ cry foul, county tables rooster ban

Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin, D-Evanston, said urban farmers were partly behind the deferral of the vote on the ban.

‘Ricardo’ the rooster, left, one of a group of chickens found wandering around the downtown area in Ocean Springs, Miss., in 2011.; Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin, right, in 2018.
AP File Photo/The Mississippi Press, William Colgin; Rich Hein/Sun-Times

A proposed ban on roosters in unincorporated Cook County didn’t fly.

After some urban farmers crowed about the move, the board of commissioners opted Thursday to defer a vote on the matter.

Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin, D-Evanston, said urban farmers were partly behind the deferral of the vote on the ban. Environmental groups also sent emails to the commissioners, Suffredin said.

“We have a lot of urban farmers, and I know some people who have roosters and chickens, and I think what happened is that they weren’t aware it was there,” Suffredin said.

During a Wednesday meeting of the Zoning and Building Committee, an update to the county’s Appendix A-Zoning was proposed to outlaw the crowing birds and reduce the number of other fowl that residents of unincorporated Cook County can have on their land. The number of other fowl would be reduced from 12 to five if the resident’s plot of land is less than an acre in size.

The amended code would not have applied to farms, veterinary clinics, animal hospitals, kennels, zoos and animal shelters.

Cook County Commissioner Peter Silvestri, R-Elmwood Park, chaired Wednesday’s meeting and said the updates “reflect the changes in the demographics.”

“It serves as the local ordinance for all the unincorporated areas of the county and they have the same issues that municipalities have so we have our own zoning ordinance,” Silvestri said. “The people in the unincorporated area have to have the same protections as people in incorporated areas so we want to make sure they’re protected.”

Suffredin quipped that he wasn’t sure if a rooster could be kept silenced, but he expects the board will want to hear from the humans who reached out and take their suggestions into consideration.

The amendment will likely go back into committee and have another hearing before coming before the board again, Suffredin said.

“It shows you that that’s part of the economy and how people are trying to live in a more environmentally sound area that there are people that this is important to,” Suffredin said.