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New rules regulating the feeding of wild animals may be imposed in Joliet

The Joliet Land Use and Legislative Committee passed a positive recommendation to city officials Tuesday to move toward imposing new rules regulating the feeding of wild animals.

The city has found that problems with the feeding of wild animals are citywide.

A violation is stipulated in the regulations as a public nuisance that creates conditions detrimental to health.

Joliet resident Stephanie Feehan spoke during the meeting of a situation specific to the Autumn Lake Estates subdivision in which she resides and said she and her neighbors’ problem has become unbelievably difficult to handle.

“The last two years, the neighborhood has spent thousands of dollars on trapping all of these unwanted animals,” she said, noting that residents are dealing with raccoons, skunks and possums. “The trapper said he has never seen a higher concentration of wildlife in one area in his many years of trapping.”

Feehan recalled having spotted someone feeding wild animals and said that no solution brought to her attention has helped to this point to right the situation. She said something has to give.

“When we bought our home, we loved it,” Feehan said. “We had a beautiful backyard and sat on it almost every night. Now, the amount of geese and other animal species is unbearable.”

Councilman Don “Duck” Dickinson said something has got to be done.

“It’s ridiculous out there,” he said.

A vote on the matter was tabled at a recent meeting of the Joliet City Council to give city staff a chance to expand on the purpose of the rules.

Corporation Counsel Marty Shanahan said the city had received some negative feedback over the ordinance as it was previously presented.

It is not the city’s intent to prohibit residents from incidental or infrequent feeding of wild animals. The rules, as crafted, describe the use of bird feeders and the feeding of ducks one piece of bread as examples of acceptable actions.

Regulations will be imposed through complaint-based enforcement. Violators are subject to a fine of $500 per incident.

Officials encourage residents to submit video and pictures to the city that depict a violation occurring.

The committee agreed in a 3-0 decision to pass a positive recommendation of the new regulations.

A vote on the rules will be brought to the Joliet City Council at its July 17 meeting.

Food truck laws within city limits recommended

Also at the meeting, the committee advanced laws regulating food trucks within city limits.

In a 3-0 vote, officials took action to pass a positive recommendation setting forth rules.

Joliet did not previously have regulations on the books for food trucks.

The rules stipulate that food trucks are not allowed to directly sell or distribute food to the public without demonstrating compliance with the requirements applicable by the health department of Will or Kendall counties. It goes on to state that proof must be provided to the city of sales tax registration with the State of Illinois.

Committee action codifies current practices and goes on to implement some restrictions, including language that prohibits the operation of food trucks without a special event permit.

The Joliet City Council is expected to consider adopting food truck laws at its first meeting in August.

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