The Plano City Council voted Monday night to allow hens in local backyards. Mayor Pro Tem Kayci Prince made the motion to approve the first of two ordinance changes. She considered allowing backyard hens a property rights issue, adding that other area cities have allowed chickens without any issues.
“I think that we’ve always done things well in Plano and that this will be no different,” she said.
Councilman Rick Grady was the lone dissenting vote on both agenda items. He said that he also considered it a property rights issue, but it was the rights of neighbors he was more concerned with.
“We talk about it as being a property right with about 200 property owners that would like chickens in their backyard, and forget all about 73,800 other homeowners that may not want to have chickens in their backyard and it’s their property right that I am concerned about”
Grady also voiced concern that the city would have to invest significant money to care for abandoned chickens. He would rather see that money used to improve the current animal shelter’s capacity.
Before the council took its votes, five speakers spoke out in favor of the changes. No one spoke publicly against the hens. City Secretary Lisa Henderson said that 56 people had registered an opinion with the city in favor of chickens, while 98 people said they were opposed.
Councilwoman Julie Holmer said she was in favor of the bill, but cautioned those considering raising chickens to educate themselves before diving in. She suggested visiting the Heritage Farmstead Museum which has resources available to help people get started.