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Schererville Council debates residential chickens, dog training business

Michael Gallenberger
Lakeshore Public Media

Chickens remain banned in Schererville's residential areas. Homeowner David Parks says he was cited for violating the town's ordinances, despite the fact that he'd kept around six hens on his two-acre property on 77th Avenue for seven years, with no apparent complaints.

"There's no issues with anyone ever going through my yard or knowing that it's there," Parks told the town council last week. "They're contained. They don't get out. They don't make noise. It's just hens. It's no roosters."

The town council denied his request for a variance to let him keep his hens by a vote of three-to-two.

Council President Tom Schmitt felt the ordinance exists for a reason. "I've talked to thousands of residents in town, and the residents in town said, 'You should stick to your zoning ordinance,'" Schmitt said.

At least one other resident disagreed. Adrien Chabot argued that chickens make less noise and leave less waste than many dogs do.

"Very, very discouraging to see some of the ignorance from the people [on the board of zoning appeals] making decisions about it, and I'm not saying 'ignorance' in a negative way. Again, if you don't care about something, you're not going to take the time to understand it and educate yourself on it," Chabot told council members.

Meanwhile, council members did narrowly approve a variance to let a homeowner open a K9 training business on residential property at 510 77th Avenue, about a half-mile down the street from Parks' home. The variance comes with a number of conditions recommended by the BZA — including no outdoor kennels, no overnight boarding and no more than four non-police K9s per day.

Council member Caleb Johnson also wanted to require the pickup and drop-off area to be fenced-in. That condition was ultimately left out, after attorney Jim Wieser argued the $15,000 cost would be too big an expense for his clients.

"I think that's an arbitrary decision," Wieser told council members. "I don't think it's consistent with the public hearing that took place at the BZA. It's not consistent with the BZA's determination."

Council members Caleb Johnson and Kevin Connelly voted against approving the variance for the dog training facility and against denying the variance for Parks' chickens.