Sometimes good things come from bad. When Doug Ehmann saw the residential real estate market collapsing just as he got final permitting for his new subdivision along Lake Fisher in Cabarrus County, he was more than a little worried. After all, the land that he had acquired was a slam dunk project in better times – more than 60 acres of lake front property just off the interstate in Cabarrus County with a short commute to Charlotte.

Lake Fisher, the drinking water supply for the City of Concord, is a pristine undeveloped lake. Homesites with lake views would have surely sold for a premium, and zoning was approved for more than 100 units.

But Doug put together a good team of advisors, who came up with a novel approach. Working with the Cities of Concord and Kannapolis, and The Land Trust , his company arranged for a land swap resulting in conservation of wildlife habitat and water quality in Lake Fisher, less land being impacted by development, and a more promising economic model for his company. The Land Trust now has a conservation easement along Lake Fisher. There will be commercial development on approximately 15 acres adjacent to Lane Street and the interstate far from Lake Fisher. Wooded buffers in the concentrated development provide aesthetic buffers, water quality protection, and important wildlife habitat.

The conserved property fronts Interstate 85 and Brantley Road, and is prominently visible from Lane Street in Kannapolis. More than 80,000 travelers a day will enjoy better views thanks to more than 50 acres of land slated for residential development which will now stay in hardwood forest. Many thanks to the City of Concord, Kannapolis, and DPE Developments who worked tirelessly to pull off this unique project for the benefit of all water users in Concord.