Prison Closing Puts Growth on the Table
By Ann Cameron Siegal
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, March 9, 2002; Page J01
Who would have guessed that its neighbors would miss the Lorton Correctional Complex?
"Security issues were never a concern for us," said Albert Macias, a Federal Aviation Administration retiree and a resident of the Crosspointe neighborhood near Lorton in southeastern Fairfax County.
"Lorton's closing is bringing people down here who stayed away because of the prison," he said. And with that influx comes plans for cultural and sports centers, more schools, housing and shopping centers -- all causing simultaneous excitement and trepidation.
"I miss the prison," said Suzanne Dana, a consultant with Imprimis International Inc. in Alexandria and one of the original residents of the 14-year-old community. Before outbuildings were added along Silverbrook Road, she said, the prison was unobtrusive, set back on 3,200 acres of green fields bordered by winding country roads.
"We thought it [the prison] would be more of a distraction than it was," said Alan C. Gault, one of the developers of Crosspointe. Gault and his business partner Otis D. Coston knew they needed to give Crosspointe a unique identity. No ordinary sign on a pole was going to do the trick. Instead, community entrances boast decorative iron gates, magnolia blossom medallions and brick wing-walls topped with plaster finials.
"Those entrances are embracing and provide a feeling of belonging," said Gault.
Gault borrowed the community's name from a community in Utah. "It fit with the idea of crossing between [Route] 123 and Silverbrook Road," he said.
Crosspointe's first section consisted of 320 houses; the developers aimed for an upscale country atmosphere in what was then considered a blighted area of the county.
"We all thought it was going to be a small community," Dana said. "I could take my kids on a drive down Silverbrook Road to see dairy farms."
Crosspointe has grown to 1,275 homes divided into six sections covering 800 acres, but the country feeling that drew so many residents in the beginning is still found along wooded trails within the community.
Crosspointe is zoned for half-acre lots, but much of that calculation includes common areas. Many of the 3,300- to 5,000-square-foot houses sit on lots varying from a fourth to a third of an acre.
Five-acre Heron Pond offers a place to stroll or fish. "I come here every day for peaceful meditation," said Mary Yeager, who has retired from the U.S. marshal's office. "If you like this place in the winter, you'll love it in the spring and summer," she said, citing the abundance of magnolia and mountain laurel trees.
The air of quiet order at Crosspointe is not accidental. Comprehensive covenants and a strict architectural review board help maintain standards, said Al Beyer, homeowners association president.
The association assesses a $600 annual homeowner's fee to pay for professional management, landscaping, maintenance, pool upkeep and trash pickup. Additional revenue is raised by selling nonresident memberships to the pools and renting the community center for parties and classes.
© 2002 The Washington Post Company