Charlotte.com
Posted on Tue, Sept. 18, 2007
Homes of a Different Color
Written By: Doug Smith

Three years ago, Charlottean Keith Paris was scouring the area for 30 acres where he could build a horse barn and create a place for his three daughters to ride.

Today, he’s developing 161 lots in a 300-acre equestrian community off Lawyers Road near Interstate 485 in Mint Hill.

That’s quite a leap: from a mini-farm to a potential Next Big Thing.

This will be one of the largest residential developments the nearly 20,000-person town of Mint Hill has ever seen.

Equestrian communities also are part of a national trend being driven by horse lovers seeking neighborhoods where they can remain close to their animals while sharing a common interest with neighbors.

As he searched, Paris discovered other horse owners in the same predicament as his family: moving from stable to stable as burgeoning regional growth made rural land harder to find.

When he pinpointed the ideal spot at the end of Bain Farm Road, owner Jerry Kennedy was reluctant to let go of land that had been in the Kennedy family for more than 50 years.

They talked over several months before Kennedy agreed to sell only if Paris would buy the family’s entire 90 acres.

“Mr. Paris was persistent and we finally came to terms,” Kennedy said. “My mom and I decided to let him have it, mainly because of the way he was going to develop it.”

As part of the transaction, the Kennedys kept the small parcel of land their home occupies and will continue living there.

“I was raised on the farm, and I hated to see it come to an end,” Kennedy said. “But Mr. Paris is a super guy to work with. He stood by everything he said he would do.”

With the Kennedy’s 90 acres under control, Paris who has 18 years experience here in construction and development, began to envision an even larger community that would revolve around horses and nature.

Eventually, four other property owners agreed to sell.