With little discussion and by a 7-0 vote, the Durham City Council approved beekeeping inside the city limits Monday night.
Then they spent more than half an hour talking about chickens before voting to put off voting until February.
A group called Durham Hens has been pressing to allow city residents to keep hens in their yards. An amendment to the Unified Development Ordinance was on Monday's agenda, but after several questions about it came up at the council's Dec. 18 work session, council members suggested putting off a vote until the proposed amendment could be revised.
Nevertheless, Monday's council meeting brought more discussion, with council member Howard Clement and Mayor Bill Bell expressing the same reservations they had in the work session.
Clement further said he would like to see a more diverse group of proponents than those who have so far appeared on behalf of chickens.
"I think you get the drift of my message," Clement said. "We need to have more than what we have been having. I would like to see a more diverse group, socioeconomic, coming."
Clement repeated his request that a health-department representative attend the next hearing "to talk to us about the possibility of bird flu concerns.
"A number of questions have been directed to me and I'd like to know are there any bird flu concerns we need to be concerned about?"
Bell said he is still concerned about the effect on property owners neighboring backyard chickens. They should be informed of chicken permit requests, he said, and given a chance to object.