CARY — Dont count those chicks just yet.
After an hour and a half of discussion, the Cary Town Council on Thursday night backed away from legalizing backyard hen-keeping for most of the town.
The ordinance, which had enjoyed strong momentum, was tabled after three council members raised concerns about the effects of poultry on neighboring residents.
I really do not believe we have taken measures to protect the neighbors of these chickens, said Councilwoman Jennifer Robinson, who had endorsed a rough draft of the ordinance earlier this year.
As the final vote drew near, she said, residents complaints about odor and predators tempered her support of the current proposal, which would have allowed up to six hens on lots of at least 0.13 acres. She said she would consider passing it if the town required greater setbacks for coops than the proposed 10-foot requirement, and reconsidered the limit on the number of hens.
The council may take the issue up again as early as Aug. 23 a prospect which didnt suit the appetites of some council members. Councilman Don Frantz said Robinsons concerns came too late in the process.
Councilwoman Lori Bush said the council should be careful to weigh all the input it has received, including a unanimous Planning and Zoning Board endorsement.
Im not excited about taking it back through the email lobbying chain, said Councilman Jack Smith.
Measures to legalize backyard hens have failed twice before the Cary council, so Thursdays decision was a familiar setback for Alissa Manfre, a backyard poultry advocate.
She and her husband have lobbied for years for a change in the policy, and were ready to buy supplies this weekend.
Alas for the Manfres, no chickens yet.
Kenney: 919-460-2608 or twitter.com/KenneyOnCary