How much poop can a flock of backyard chickens make?

Not as much as the East Baton Rouge Metro Council, according to one member.

Councilman Ryan Heck said he’s fielded a bunch of calls from constituents asking how many chickens they’re allowed to raise. The city permits three hens — no roosters — on neighborhood lots.

But Heck said he checked with a poultry expert, who told him five was a more optimal number for a small flock. At a recent council meeting, Heck suggested doubling the amount of chickens allowed on lots of less than one acre to give farm-to-table types a more favorable return on their clucking investments.

But where will it end, wondered councilman Chandler Loupe.

Will the city next have to consider grouse legislation? Or even Guinea fowl?

“I’m anti-chicken, I’m sorry,” he told Heck, referring good-naturedly to him as “the chicken man” and similar terms for the rest of the meeting.

The birds did have their defenders, though.

“Clearly, having more chicken is better,” remarked councilman John Delgado, grinning at the turn the discussion had taken.

But council members Donna Collins-Lewis said she already gets enough calls about rowdy hens, and Trae Welch weighed in with his opposition, citing the smell.

Loupe asked Heck how much more chicken fecal matter the parish could expect by loosening poultry restrictions.

Whatever the amount, the council generates more, Heck quipped.

When it came time to vote, he, Delgado, Chauna Banks-Daniel and Buddy Amoroso formed the pro-chicken block, but they weren’t enough to pass the measure.

Ascension Parish described as region’s ‘shining city on the hill’

Two months after the Ascension Parish Council approved road impact fees on new development, parish Planning Commission Chair Matt Pryor has called for a new transportation master plan to direct when and where road improvements should happen.

Rejecting suggestions that the parish slow growth until infrastructure catches up — because doing so would punish landowners for past government failure — Pryor argued that roads are a basic responsibility of government that need to be addressed in the face of rapid growth.

Schools, natural resources and other factors have made Ascension a “hot commodity,” he said.

“For whatever the reason, we are the proverbial shining city on the hill,” Pryor said. “People want to move here. Businesses want to move here. Ascension Parish is a hot commodity, and we need to get our infrastructure up to par.”

Pryor made his comments to open a Planning Commission meeting Wednesday night as he asked the commission to vote on having the hearing next month. The commissioners later backed Pryor’s request without opposition. Before the vote, Commissioner Julio Dumas said the parish now has impact fees but an older master plan.

“I think that it’s incumbent upon us to maybe seek guidance on the possibility of doing a comprehensive transportation master plan, or updating the transportation master plan of Ascension Parish,” Dumas said.

A veteran of past disputes over the parish’s overall master plan, Dumas made clear the update would be focused only on transportation. The parish already has a three-year road priority list and is required by state law to have one.

Impact fees are collected on new homes and businesses and must be used to alleviate the stresses that new growth puts on the road network. The fees took effect April 29 and have been projected to generate $2 million per year.

Landry appointed interim Donalsonville council member

Brent Landry has been appointed to serve as the interim replacement for deceased Donaldsonville City Councilman Emile Spano.

Spano died May 22 at age 68 after serving a little more than nine years on the City Council, city officials said in a statement.

The council voted to appoint Landry to represent Council District 5 on May 31. Landry, with his wife, Kristen, by his side, and flanked by the council members and Mayor Leroy Sullivan, was sworn at Donaldsonville City Hall by City Attorney Chuck Long.

Advocate staff writers Steve Hardy, David J. Mitchell and Andrea Gallo contributed to this article.