Diana Zoga

Family Petitions to Allow Backyard Chickens in Wylie

Wylie's ban on backyard chickens has been in effect since 1987

In Wylie, a petition to change a longstanding ordinance that bans backyard chickens has gathered more than 300 signatures.

Celia Lemons began circulating the petition two weeks ago, after the city notified her family their five backyard chickens were not allowed in city limits. The family said it had 48 hours to find a new home for the chickens or risk a citation.

"My son cried and yelled and said, 'Don't let them take them," Lemons said. "He said, 'I hate this town.' It was pretty terrible."

The family bought the chickens in February and built a chicken coop in their backyard.

"This is where they lay their eggs," said six-year-old Liam, as he pointed out the features in the coop. "I wanted the chickens. I love chickens."

Lemons said she didn't know the chickens were against the rules. Neighbors in nearby Sachse are allowed to have them. In Murphy, residents can have up to three hens and no roosters, though the city recommends checking with your home owner's association first. Frisco also bans roosters, but allows up to 12 chickens. Plano and Wylie don't allow backyard chickens.

"I imagined my kids waking up in the morning and telling them to go get some eggs and making fresh eggs," said Lemons. "They go through a lot eggs."

Lemons launched a petition that's gathered more than 300 signatures online and around 50 more on paper. Lemons supports an ordinance change that would allow a limited number of hens with strict rules on maintenance of coops to limit smells and pests. She said she supports banning roosters to keep noise at bay.

"It's the roosters that make noise. The chickens make a very low noise when they're just talking to each other -- less than my kids being in the backyard yelling at each other," Lemons said.

The City of Wylie said the current ordinance has been in effect since 1987. The city council tentatively planned to discuss it at a July 24 work session.

Until then, Lemons is still gathering signatures, asking her neighbors to consider the possibility of welcoming chickens in Wylie backyards.

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