Hutto City Council approved a motion May 20 authorizing City Manager Warren Hutmacher to contract with planning and consulting firm Freese and Nichols to create a comprehensive plan.

A comprehensive plan guides a city's development plan for the years ahead. The city of Hutto has not conducted a full-scale evaluation of its comprehensive plan since 2008, said Ashley Lumpkin executive director of infrastructure and development services.

The contract with Freese and Nichols, whose past work includes plans for San Marcos and Buda, involves a fiscal analysis of various possible development patterns for the city along with plans for public works, parks and infrastructure, according to city documents. A master plan for downtown Hutto will also be included to give a full breakdown of existing assets, underutilized spaces and growth incentives for the downtown area.

The economic development corporation approved $180,000 to contribute toward the total cost of around $500,000 during its May 3 meeting.

Community input will be key in the process, with meetings, open houses, workshops and an interactive website included in the contract.

Hutmacher said the comprehensive plan is one of the most important documents the council passes because it guides every zoning decision until the plan is updated.

Council Member Mike Arismendez, who serves on the EDC, said the need for a comprehensive plan is imperative in assessing growth and quality of life in the city.

"I think that this is going to provide a great document for the citizens to be able to participate in and then also to be able to say, 'Yeah this is how we envision the city growing'," he said. "Hutto is going to grow—how we're going to grow is dependent on what we can do with this master plan."