4 October 2023

Digital Technology Guru

Digital Technology Guru Reviews

Prince William County Moves Forward with Data Center Projects Ahead of New Board Members

2 min read
Prince William County Moves Forward with Data Center Projects Ahead of New Board Members

The Prince William Board of County Supervisors has set a date for rezoning hearings on three data center projects connected to the PW Digital Gateway. The board’s decision ensures that the largest development in county history will be voted on the current Democratic majority before new members are sworn in next year.

The hearings, scheduled for December 12th, will consider two rezoning requests QTS Realty Trust Inc. and one Compass Datacenters. Together, these projects aim to build 27 million square feet of data centers on approximately 2,100 acres in western Prince William County near Gainesville.

By holding the hearings before the end of the year, the board’s Democratic majority, which has historically been supportive of data center development, will have the opportunity to consider the Digital Gateway. However, in the coming year, a new chair, likely with a different stance on the project, will be sworn in following the general election.

The decision to hold the hearings in December was supported the board’s Democratic majority, including At-Large Chair Ann Wheeler. Wheeler, who is a Democrat and a proponent of data centers, will no longer hold office next year. This move also resulted in the rescheduling and cancellation of other meetings.

Originally, Wheeler proposed for the board to consider the QTS rezoning requests during the week of Thanksgiving, but that date was changed due to its proximity to the holiday weekend. The new meeting date allows the board to review the entire Digital Gateway proposal in a single day.

The developers’ applications were fast-tracked after QTS legal counsel pushed for officials to expedite the process. They argued that the county had already failed to meet the one-year legal limitation on processing zoning applications.

Although the board approved a Comprehensive Plan amendment for the PW Digital Gateway in November 2022, granting it a path forward, QTS and Compass Datacenters still need to secure rezonings for their projects to be realized.

Opponents of the Digital Gateway, including Republican supervisors Bob Weir and Jeanine Lawson, voted against the calendar change. In July, there was an unsuccessful Republican effort to delay major land-use decisions, including the Digital Gateway plan, until next year.

Source: Prince William Times