A high stakes game of chicken is unfolding in North Barrington where angry residents are trying to stop a massive poultry farm from opening in their neighborhood.
The factory farm owner says he was approved by the state until residents annexed the property and changed the rules.
Kristi Born says she's got nothing against chickens and in fact keeps about 25 of them on her unincorporated Barrington property.
But when it comes to what's going up next door, she’s not happy.
"It's insanity, really,” Born said. “To think you're gonna have 20-thousand chickens in a neighborhood."
Born and her neighbors are fighting plans by Anoosh Varda to open a factory chicken farm on five acres of property he purchased a couple years ago.
"I do my chicken farm. This is a free country, freed business. And we're doing it. We're not touching no neighbors,” Varda said.
Varda has nearly finished building three massive chicken coops totaling 21,000 square feet that could house up to 20,000 chickens. He got approval from state regulators when the property was in unincorporated Lake County.
But earlier this year, worried neighbors agreed to be annexed by North Barrington which limits the number of chickens on any property to six.
"Being next door to a factory farm, it's bad for the environment. I can't imagine what happens to our well. To our air. Where's all that waste gonna go? 20.000 chickens is a lot of chickens,” said Grant Born.
Varda says he's already moved 2,000 chickens into these coops, with no complaints of noise or smell. and he says annexing his property to North Barrington is changing the rules in the middle of the game.
"It is very unfair to take something by force from somebody and saying okay, we are not sure. That's not the way this country is,” Varda said.
"Warned them, said look if you want to continue, continue at your own risk because there's a great chance that this is gonna be shut down,” Born said.
All this will come to a head at a public hearing scheduled for May 22nd. The owner says if he doesn't get those zoning changes and can't open this chicken facility, he stands to lose $2-million dollars.