A developer with plans to build affordable housing on 19 acres off Limmer Loop in Hutto's extraterritorial jurisdiction is trying to address a gap in utility services, leaving the cities of Round Rock and Hutto to negotiate the best path forward.

“We have been working with the city of Round Rock to secure connections to its centralized wastewater collection and treatment system. Assuming we are successful in negotiating our wastewater treatment agreement ... and are released from the Hutto ETJ, we anticipate being annexed into the city of Round Rock,” 705 Limmer Loop JV LLC wrote in a petition to the city of Hutto for removal from its extraterritorial jurisdiction.


The developer submitted its petition to remove the property from Hutto's ETJ in October 2023, a month after Senate Bill 2038 went into effect, which allows landowners and developers to remove themselves from a city's ETJ.

However, the city of Hutto denied the developer's petition, contrary to state law. In November, the city sent a response to 705 Limmer Loop JV LLC stating SB 2038 was “an unconstitutional delegation of legislative authority” and subsequently joined the multicity lawsuit against the state challenging the bill.

Now, city officials in Round Rock and Hutto are in discussions about the property's removal from one ETJ into the other, and how to navigate bringing utility services to the project.

Some context

Prior to the petition to remove the land from Hutto's ETJ, the housing project had stalled due to a lack of wastewater services for the property.

The Limmer Loop development, though located within the Hutto ETJ, does not fall within the city’s or any jurisdiction’s wastewater Certificate of Convenience and Necessity, or CCN. A CCN is what identifies the organization responsible for providing and maintaining specific utility services, such as wastewater, according to city of Hutto documents. Without a CCN, there is no entity responsible for providing wastewater services to this proposed development site.

In November 2022, the developer proposed the construction of a wastewater package plant, filing an application with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, or TCEQ, for a water quality permit.

The Environmental Protection Agency defines wastewater package plants as premanufactured treatment facilities used to treat wastewater in small communities or on individual properties and capable of discharging as much as half a million gallons of treated wastewater per day.

Package plants remain a controversial topic as there are environmental and exposure concerns.

The Hutto ISD school board of trustees approved a resolution to oppose the treatment plant in March 2023, as Veterans Hill Elementary School stands directly adjacent to the Limmer Loop development, and cited concerns related to the potential exposure to pollutants from discharge dumped into the nearby Brushy Creek.

Others also expressed concern about the proposed plant being built so close to a Hutto ISD elementary school. Hutto Mayor Mike Snyder said wastewater package plants "should be a last resort." However, he also clarified that it would cost the city of Hutto millions of dollars to run wastewater lines out to the property, when the nearby elementary school is already connected to a Round Rock wastewater line.

“Our desire is to build affordable housing for a growing community without the need for a TCEQ-approved wastewater plant. However, to date, we have been unable to secure a commitment from an existing wastewater provider,” 705 Limmer Loop JV LLC said in a statement to Community Impact.

Diving in deeper

Hutto City Council members voted April 18 to formally begin conversations with the city of Round Rock to navigate the issue, as the property lies at the juncture of the two cities' ETJ borders.

“It’s right on the edge of our ETJ, and so if we are not planning on getting out there and [Round Rock] can, the best thing for the public and the area in general seems to be to get them on a sewer line instead of on a package plant,” said Dan Thornton, Hutto Place 2 City Council member. “It seems like it’s for the public good to do that, rather than worrying that we lost a few acres of land.”

The city of Round Rock only holds two out-of-city wastewater service agreements. In 2018, the city of Round Rock negotiated an out-of-city service agreement with Hutto ISD for Veterans Hill Elementary School, due to the growing population in the Siena Municipal Utility District, the need for a public school in the area and the proximity of Round Rock’s wastewater infrastructure, according to city staff.

The school’s property is also located in an area of Hutto’s ETJ that does not fall within any jurisdiction's CCN.

The Limmer Loop developer and city of Round Rock have reached a similar agreement in which the city will provide wastewater services for the property while the developer will be subject to impact fees and higher out-of-city wastewater rates. And if the property is annexed into Round Rock, it would be subject to the city’s building standards.

The out-of-city service agreement must still go before Round Rock City Council for a vote. However, because the property does not lie in any jurisdiction’s CCN, they would not necessarily need to be removed from Hutto’s ETJ to receive wastewater services from Round Rock.

In an April 18 email from Round Rock City Manager Laurie Hadley to the city of Hutto, she wrote that Round Rock is not formally advocating for the movement of developers or landowners from one city’s ETJ into another.

“Round Rock remains available to discuss mutually beneficial solutions to the growing reality of developers between our cities attempting to move forward with treating their own wastewater,” Hadley wrote.

A meeting between the cities is anticipated to take place in the near future, and a vote is expected to come before Round Rock City Council regarding an out-of-city service agreement in coming weeks.