The city of Berea has taken the first step toward annexing about 160 acres off Slate Lick Road on the south side of town.
City administrator Randy Stone said United Church Homes, which bought the property a few years ago, wants to develop it into a retirement community and has asked Berea to annex the land so city services would be available.
The Madison County property is open farmland now, and it isn't clear when the land will be developed, Stone said. He said he didn't know how many homes are planned on the site.
"I think they are just hoping that the economy turns around enough for them to be able to build and make good on this investment," he said of United Church Homes.
A proposal stating the city's intent to annex the property got a first reading before the Berea City Council on Tuesday night. Stone said that was just the first step in a lengthy annexation process.
If the proposal is approved, the city's planning and zoning officials would start the review process, including hearings. If planning and zoning officials decide to recommend annexation, they would assign a zoning classification to the site, and the entire plan would come back to the city council for approval of an ordinance to annex the property, Stone said.
"It would take quite a while, six months or more," he said.
It has been two or three years since Berea has annexed any property, Stone said.