MINT HILL – When Steve McEwen and his siblings decided to part with 51 acres that had been in their family for nearly 100 years, they wanted to partner with a developer that respected the land.
“We had many, many offers from several different developers that wanted to cram as many houses and homes as they could,” McEwen said.
Eventually, they connected with Nicholas Parker of Amicus Partners. Parker’s firm has a vision for the land that preserves one-third of it for green space and connects to downtown Mint Hill.
Parker introduced the project, McEwen Manor, to town commissioners during a Jan. 9 public hearing.
McEwen Manor will span three parcels totaling 55.5 acres at Cresthill Drive and Lawyers Road. It’s across from the recently developed Ryan Homes community and four-tenths of a mile from the town center.
Parker wants the project to be included in the downtown development overlay, but he’s seeking a density of just under four units per acre as opposed to the maximum of six units.
“We want to develop a community where the amenities are the parks, the open spaces, the greenways and ultimately the pedestrian connectivity to downtown,” Parker said. “We thought we could really create a good community that maintains Mint Hill’s high-quality layout and design standards.”
He described McEwen Manor as a destination community with a blending of housing styles.
Site plans call for 125 single-family lots and 91 townhomes. The single-family homes would be split into village cottage, greenway cottage and neighborhood edge. These neighborhood zones will have homes at different price points.
The project emphasizes green space and pocket parks.
Neighbor Scott Jeffers was pleasantly surprised by the project.
“I really like this development,” Jeffers said at the public hearing. “I thought I was going to hate it as one of the guys who has been living here for a long time, but it looks like they’ve done a really good job of trying to integrate themselves into an existing space.”
Jeffers offered one suggestion. He wanted foot traffic to be directed to greenways that are next to the creek. He recalled exploring the greenways and creeks in south Charlotte when he was a kid.
Developer Roger Martin panned the project, noting that it missed the mark in terms of providing an attractive gateway into Mint Hill. Martin said he wanted to see examples of the homes and opportunities to showcase legacy trees.
“In my mind, this developer has got a long way to go before he can satisfy what I would be looking for,” Martin said. “I don’t see how y’all could make any decisions with what they have shown you tonight.”
Tammy Michael, who lives on Cresthill Drive, told commissioners that she worried about people using her driveway to turn around. Parker said he’d be willing to discuss with town staff options, such as putting in a cul-de-sac.
McEwen defended the project during the Jan. 9 public hearing.
“It weighs on our family’s hearts really heavily to even be selling the land, number one,” McEwen said. “We were going to make dern sure that once it was going to be a project we were all going to be on board with.”
The planning board is scheduled to vet the project on Jan. 27. Commissioners could vote on it as early as Feb. 13.