Southwest Wake News

Holly Springs continues backyard chicken discussion

The Holly Springs Town Council is divided over allowing residents to keep chickens in their yards.

Although the town is one of only two Wake County municipalities that forbids its residents from keeping these feathered friends in their backyards, the council will consider an ordinance in January to allow them – with regulations.

On Nov. 17, the council directed the staff to draft the ordinance to allow hens on single-family lots. Roosters will not be allowed.

The council discussed allowing a maximum of three chickens on a minimum-sized lot of 10,000 square feet. Chicken coops would need to be placed in the backyard, not the side yard, at a minimum of 12 feet from the rear property line. A $75 permit and initial inspection would be required.

“My feedback that I’ve gotten from everybody I’ve talked to is, we don’t need this,” Mayor Pro Tem Tim Sack said. “I don’t think we need the hens in Holly Springs. I think the way we have it right now is what we need to stay with.”

Councilwoman Cheri Lee said while she believes having backyard chickens could be fine in some areas, issues could arise in others, particularly those with smaller lot sizes.

“Personally, I’d like to see a larger lot size,” she said.

But Councilman Hank Dickson said he believed the regulations suggested by the staff are sufficient and referred to Apex’s success with allowing the chickens.

“The fact that our neighbors to the north have had no restrictions whatsoever and no issues leads me to believe, that even if we have these listed requirements or restrictions, I think these would be sufficient,” he said.

Homeowners associations also would be able to overrule the town ordinance and ban their members from raising chickens.

The draft ordinance will go before the town’s planning board in December before returning to the council for consideration in January.

This will be the second time in recent years that Holly Springs has raised the issue of backyard chickens. A 2010 request to consider allowing chickens failed without a vote after no council member seconded a motion by Councilwoman Linda Hunt Williams.

Fuquay-Varina, the other Wake County municipality that does not allow backyard chickens, began a similar process this Spring to consider allowing chickens but has yet to adopt an ordinance.

Kathryn Trogdon; 919-460-2608; @KTrogdon