Hutto City Council voted 6-0 Aug. 22 against a potential fuel station planned for the northwest corner of Gattis School Road and Winterfield Drive, at the entrance of the Star Ranch residential development. Council Member Mike Snyder recused himself from the discussion and vote on the basis of having a professional relationship with developer Tim Timmerman.
At least 50 people attended the Aug. 22 meeting, wearing white t-shirts sporting the phrase “Retail Not Convenience/Fuel” as well as the hashtag #StarRanchStrong. Seventeen residents from Star Ranch as well as from surrounding communities spoke out against the proposed fuel station.
Beyond those who outwardly affiliated themselves with Star Ranch through their t-shirts or by addressing council, the chamber was at standing room only.
The Hutto Planning and Zoning Commission ruled 7-0 against the project at its Aug. 6 meeting. By law, the commission is required to bring the request to council for consideration, particularly with regards to a potential rezoning.
Renee’ LaFrance, a realtor in Hutto, helped organize her Star Ranch neighbors for the Aug. 22 meeting and spoke before council against the proposal.
“I regret, every day, that I built my home where I did,” LaFrance said. “The only saving grace are the people behind me. These people behind me are literally my community.”
After a brief executive session held by the mayor and council, Council Member Scott Rose commended all of the residents who came to speak out against the Star Ranch proposal.
He denounced the alleged “bait-and-switch strategy” residents have experienced from Timmerman while living in the 20-plus-year-old development.
“People are making lifelong decisions, the biggest investments of your lives, based on what you’re being told,” Rose said. “Y’all may not be registered voters, but you’re people. You’re people of this community.”