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Election is for the birds in this Holly Springs neighborhood.

A neighborhood in Holly Springs is trying to amend its rules to allow backyard chickens.
A neighborhood in Holly Springs is trying to amend its rules to allow backyard chickens. File photograph

If you think elections are for the birds, there’s one in Holly Springs that really is.

Rebecca Patterson is campaigning for her neighborhood homeowners association to allow backyard chickens.

Holly Springs, like many local towns, allows residents to keep a limited number of hens. But the practice hasn’t really caught on this southern Wake town of roughly 35,000 people. Holly Springs issued three chicken permits in 2017 and none so far this year.

Patterson is hoping to raise chickens outside her home in Somerset Farm, a subdivision whose HOA covenants predate the town’s 2016 decision to allow up to three hens per household.

She’s been on a mission since the summer to bring convince her neighbors to vote to adopt the town’s rules for Somerset Farm.

“I found a farmer in the neighborhood who keeps birds off site,” Patterson said. “I thought it was something I could do if the rule could be changed.”

More than half of her neighbors said in a Nextdoor poll that they liked the idea of allowing chickens, she said. Then she contacted HOA president Kathleen Balding, who gave her the go-ahead to lobby neighbors.

A resident in the Somerset Farm neighborhood in Holly Springs is trying to get the HOA rules changed to allow backyard chickens. Rebecca Patterson explains how the rules could be changed.

Patterson printed fliers and distributed them to the 200 homes in the neighborhood. She also took a class at Wake Technical Community College to become a notary so she could certify the votes cast by homeowners.

“She’s made everything so easy for people to come by and vote,” Balding said. “We just don’t get enough people involved or who make the effort.”

Patterson has turned the neighborhood clubhouse into a polling station. She’s made information boards explaining the Holly Springs rules, the myths associated with backyard chickens and the types of chickens that adapt best to backyard life.

Patterson needs at least 132 votes to meet the two-thirds required for the HOA to adopt a new rule.

“I can only hope,” she said. “I have tried my best and had a lot of fun doing it and meeting my neighbors.”

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