COPPERAS COVE — Council members were a peck away from getting their ducks — or rather chickens — in a row Tuesday, as they agreed on preliminary restrictions to the area’s chicken ordinance.

The issue first arose in March after chicken owner Shane Rawlings received a violation for owning chickens in February. Rawlings said the wording of the city’s ordinance was confusing and needed clarification.

Officials proposed Tuesday that all residents zoned for single-family residences or multifamily residences could own at least six chickens per family, as long as there were no noisy roosters and that coops need to be 20 feet away from other properties within an enclosed backyard.

They did not want to, however, consider any other fowl animals, such as ducks or turkeys.

“I’ve been a farmer, and I’ve had them all, but if we open it up for more than chickens, like geese, guineas, turkeys ... they get noisy,” Councilwoman Marty Smith said.

Council members said while they were not in favor of requiring a building permit fee for chicken coops or animal registration fees, they were in favor of having owners register their chickens with the city.

“It’s just so we have an idea where they are at,” Councilman Mark Peterson said.

Many residents spoke in favor of the ordinance during the public hearing portion of the meeting, including 6-year-old Ajoni Stephens.

“We have three chickens. One’s (name is) Chikadee, one’s Jane, and one’s Nioma. One of them died when they were really small, and I think it’s good to have chickens,” he said, stepping away from the microphone.

City staff will construct exact wording of the ordinance, and it will go before the City Council for approval in October.

In other business, the council conducted a second and final hearing on the city’s property tax rate, set at 79 cents per $100 of assessed property value. The budget and tax rate are set for adoption Sept. 2.

Council members also appointed Mariela Alcott as the city secretary. He was serving as interim city secretary.

Contact Courtney Griffin at or 254-501-7559

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