A plan that received preliminary approval from the Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Commission on Wednesday will move the city's boundaries farther south and closer to the proposed South Beltway.

The commission recommended that the city annex nearly 220 acres south of Rokeby Road on both the east and west sides of 27th Street and change its zoning from agricultural to residential to accommodate a proposed new housing development called Iron Ridge.

According to plans submitted to the city, Iron Ridge could have up to 529 housing units and 50,000 square feet of commercial space.

However, because much of the land is in the floodplain, it's likely the actual number of units will be closer to 300, said Tim Gergen, a civil engineer with Clark Enersen Partners who is working with Apples Way LLC, the group developing the project.

Initial plans by the developers call for 192 housing units on the east side of 27th Street and 45 on the west side. The units would be a mix of single-family homes and townhomes.

Gergen said the developers asked for approval for the maximum number of allowed units to provide flexibility, even though it's unlikely they will come close to that number.

He said demand for new homes is high, so developers want to get started on the project as quickly as possible, meaning construction could start on homes later this year.

Assuming the City Council approves the project, it will push the city's southern border to within about a mile of the proposed South Beltway, which will connect U.S. 77 south of Saltillo Road to Nebraska 2 near 120th Street and Rokeby Road. Construction on the $300 million project is expected to start in 2020.

Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.

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Business editor/reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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