The city of Hutto may start having more parades as result of Hutto City Council debating city regulations related to special event permitting.

The city has limited the number of parades in recent years after the death of a middle school student during a parade in 2005.

A special event is defined as any impact on the public right of way, said Kristi Barnes, the city’s community outreach and programs manager.

In a nutshell

Dan Thornton, Place 2 Hutto City Council member, said he had brought the issue to the city manager for review after repeatedly hearing from residents that the city never holds parades, something that has been described as part of small-town culture.

City Council members debated two ordinances related to special event permitting during a regular council meeting May 3. The discussion included issues surrounding the ordinances related to event capacities, parade safety and political concerns.

The updated city ordinances will include a list of safety provisions that must be adhered to throughout these types of special events. However, several modifications will be made to both ordinances related to mass gatherings.

Quote of note

Hutto Mayor Mike Snyder voiced concerns that the language within both ordinances was vague regarding demonstrations, citing recent political protests taking place in Austin.

“Right now, the way we've got [these ordinances] set up, the city manager is on the hook to decide who can have an event here, how big the event can be and what it's going to be about. We have no control on what's going on; we have a [public] facility that may be used for purposes we didn't want it to be used for,” Snyder said.

Next steps

It was determined by council members that any application for a special event permit denied by city staff will be taken to City Council for a vote, eliminating any room for political dispute between city staff and applicants.

Both ordinances must come back to council for a new reading with the proposed changes at a future City Council meeting.