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CCFB News» September 2018

Farm Bureau Negotiates Changes to Cook County Zoning Code

09/05/2018 @ 7:40 am | By Bona Heinsohn, CAE

Farm Bureau actively engaged with Cook County Commissioner Peter Silvestri, Chairman of the Committee on Building and Zoning and the Building and Zoning Department to minimize the impact of zoning changes on Cook County agriculture.


The amendment provides:

  • Reasonable minimum lot sizes for individuals interested in keeping livestock or horses.
  • Reasonable requirements for apiaries located on smaller residential lots.
  • Reasonable minimum requirements for animal enclosures.


In February, Farm Bureau submitted comments regarding minimum lot sizes for the keeping of bees.  The proposed ordinance stipulated that bee hives were limited to lots with an area of at least two-acres.  This lot minimum along with limits regarding the number of hives was eliminated in the final draft of the ordinance.


A subsequent draft provided that livestock and horses could only be kept on lots with a minimum area of five-acres and that an acre of space was required for each horse.  Almost all horse riding stables, horse tracks, and carriage barns in Cook County have fewer acres of land than horses.  Midwest farmers use a combination of limited time grazing and supplemental feed (hay, grain, etc.) to maximize the number of animals they can house.  Farm Bureau successfully negotiated a change to the ordinance to reduce the lot size requirement and to eliminate the requirement for an owner to have an equal number of acres and horses.


Farm Bureau worked closely with Commissioner Silvestri and his staff and Building and Zoning staff to negotiate the changes.  Members are encouraged to contact Bona Heinsohn at (708) 354-3276 or via email at [email protected].

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