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Watching Reston's growth key for Charles Pointe developers

The Exponent-Telegram's recent investigation of the Reston, Va., lifestyle and economy likely gave some area readers their first close-up view of a planned community. But, it won't be their last.

Charles Pointe, a similar-but-smaller community planned for just north of Bridgeport, is also intended to feature shopping and residential villages, hotels, high-technology businesses and conference facilities, according to Lane Bailey, a managing director for Golin/Harris International. The firm handles public relations for both developments.

We encourage Charles Pointe developer Genesis Partners, the city of Bridgeport and other municipalities that may be facing such development in the future to keep looking at Reston and communities like it across the U.S. Thirty-six years old and nationally celebrated, Reston developers have already faced many of the decisions, especially the zoning ones, that will come up locally in the next few months and years.

Reston developer Robert Simon and other community leaders noted a number of points in which that community has excelled: balancing business and residential growth to keep property taxes steady, leaving large amounts of green space by keeping a fairly high density per acre in residential developments, and mixing residential and commercial areas.

Simon noted some problems in the development, as well. One was philosophical conflicts as ownership of the community-held land changed several times. The disparity led to one of two oil companies that have been owner selling a public golf course, which became private and very pricey.

We understand Charles Pointe is a private development, but it will play a large role in Harrison County economics and may serve as the Mountain State prototype for planned communities.

For that reason, each individual and organization involved in its development has a great deal of public responsibility to make Charles Pointe everything it can be. That includes closely watching communities such as Reston as a point of comparison.

Today's editorial reflects the opinion of the Exponent editorial board, which is comprised of James G. Logue, Kevin S. Courtney, Patrick M. Martin, Matt Harvey, Nora Edinger and J. Cecil Jarvis.

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