Data Centers Here, There... Anywhere?
On Tuesday, July 20th, Prince Williams Board of County Supervisors will vote to initiate two Comprehensive Plan Amendments (CPA) located outside the County's Data Center Opportunity Zone Overlay District
CPA2021-00005, Compton Property/Amazon Data Services, would change the long-range land use designation for approximately 77 acres for the purpose of developing a data center and electrical substation campus. Read the staff report here.
CPA2021-00004, PW Digital Gateway would change the long-range land use designation for approximately ±801.59 acres from Agricultural Estate/Rural Crescent, and ER, Environmental Resource to Technology/Flex. This application covers 27 individual properties that are located on both sides of Pageland Land and adjacent to Manassas National Battlefield Park. Read staff report here.
Why it matters
Data centers can serve Prince William County well if they are properly sited in industrial or commercial areas where they will have minimal impacts on our quality of life.
Prince William's Data Center Overlay District includes approximately 3,100 acres of undeveloped vacant land suitable for data center development. However, speculative land developers are eyeing the less expensive lands in our Rural Crescent. Worse, many of these targeted properties are next to our two national parks, Manassas National Battlefield Park and Prince William Forest (National) Park.
The threat to these national parks and Prince William's Rural Crescent is immediate and entirely unnecessary.
Manassas National Battlefield and Prince William Forest Park attract more than a million visitors and contribute $120 million to the Prince William economy every year. They protect our clean water resources and wildlife habitat, and preserve significant natural and cultural resources, and support the County's tourism goals.
The Rural Crescent is our strongest tool to combat sprawl. The Rural Crescent helps us save valuable open space, protects groundwater and the Occoquan Reservoir, which provides clean drinking water for Northern Virginia. It preserves the county's agricultural economy, and supports high-quality wildlife habitat.
Data centers are industrial necessities that can benefit Prince William County if they are properly sited. The enormous loss of green space caused by data centers in these proposed locations would have lasting, detrimental impacts on the natural resources that benefit all Prince William residents.
Please share your views with all Supervisors. Join us at the Board of Supervisors meeting tomorrow evening. There's no public hearing, so the community can speak at Citizen's Time, at the beginning of the 7:30pm meeting. Ask them to keep data centers in the current Data Center Overlay District.