After discussing parking, landscaping and building height, Hutto City Council voted 6-1 to adopt changes to the planned utility district that encompasses the development. Newly-elected Council Member Mike Synder was opposed.
At issue was a height allowance for commercial, retail, office and mixed-use of up to ten stories.
“This will not only change the look of the Co-Op District, but it will also change the skyline of Hutto, Texas,” Terry Nolen, a 27-year resident of Hutto, said during a public comment portion of the May 16 meeting.
Nolen and other residents voiced opposition to the height allowance prior to council's vote.
“I do not understand how any 10-story building mirrors the quaint feeling [...] the citizens want to protect," Nolen said. "I am against a building of this size in this location.”
In addition to dismay over building height, residents called the City Council's transparency into question.
“This is the first I’ve heard it was 10 stories," said newly-elected Council Member Peter Gordon. "I really think that we have fallen down on telling the public what’s going on.”
Gordon, while new to City Council, has been a Hutto resident for 18 years.
“I’m just concerned that there is a communication issue,” he said.
City staff maintained that they have held more than 10 public hearings related to the Co-Op development, in addition to developer updates provided monthly.
“We wanted to make sure that we are really inviting everyone to look at what the Co-Op is becoming," said Ashley Lumpkin, Hutto's executive director of business and development. “We are coming into our own as a city, and wanted to share that excitement and news with everybody.”
The Co-Op District is a mixed-use project located north of Hwy. 79. In addition to Hutto City Hall and Hutto Public Library, future tenants announced to date include Southside Market & Barbeque, Top Notch Hamburgers and Flix Brewhouse.