COPPERAS COVE — The issue of keeping chickens within city limits popped up again at the City Council’s workshop meeting Tuesday, but no action was taken.
Deputy Police Chief Eddie Wilson spearheaded the discussion as he presented the city’s survey results about the issue. The city polled residents via mail and its new website, beheardcove.org.
According to the results, 84 residents polled were in favor of chickens living in the city while 30 were against. The majority was not concerned with property value concerns and also wanted the number of chickens per household regulated by property size.
Most residents polled, however, were against housing roosters within city limits.
Wilson also presented several chicken ordinances from nearby cities. Harker Heights, Temple and Belton allow chickens, but they must be kept several hundred yards away from any neighborhood property structure, he said, while Killeen does not allow them in any residentially zoned area.
Georgetown, he said, stipulates that no more than eight chickens are allowed per property, coops must be 20 feet from any other residential structure, and roosters are banned.
Other issues city officials needed to consider, he said, were whether the city should allow chickens to be slaughtered within city limits, as well as what animals it would consider “pets.”
“My only concern is once we start allowing hens, we open Pandora’s box,” Mayor John Hull said. “I noticed the deal they had in Temple over pot-bellied pigs, and they say that’s a pet.”
Wilson said while there are benefits such as reduced trash and sustainability, noise and sanitation concerns were negatives other municipalities faced.
Shane Rawlings, a chicken owner and vocal advocate of fewer fowl regulations, told the council the city has pet ordinances prohibiting loud and smelly animals, and he hoped officials would create regulations to reward responsible pet owners instead of punishing them.
“We can try to assume that people will be responsible, and when they’re not, punish those people who can’t handle the responsibilities of owning chickens, dogs, whatever,” he said. Council members will discuss the issue at a meeting in July.
Election set for July 22
Council members set a date to fill vacant Seat 5, formerly held by Kenn Smith. A special election will take place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. July 22 at City Hall, 507 S. Main St. People who want to run for the seat must file applications with the city secretary by May 21. Smith, who was elected in June 2010 and re-elected to his position in November, voluntarily resigned March 26.
Early voting will be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. July 7 and 10 and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 8 and 9, 11-18 and 14-18.