Arizona: Chandler's new legislation proposal and what it means for data centers

Nov 24, 2021 | Posted by MadalineDunn

Chandler may introduce new legislation that will introduce a more rigorous process when it comes to building more data centers in the area. This news comes with the region coming out third nationally for data center construction in the first half of 2021; concerns are mainly rooted in the unsustainable nature of data centers.

According to city officials, like Vice Mayor Mark Stewart, when the industry first set its sights on the area, it was viewed as a positive move, now the city realizes the dangers. Speaking to Azcentral, Stewart said: "Over time we've realized it's a drain on water and energy and as Price Corridor has evolved we've realized data centers aren't our target. When you couple that together … it's just not the perfect fit for Chandler."

Moreover, officials have outlined that a surge of data centers in the area, in fact, work against the city's sustainability efforts. On top of sustainability issues, locals have complained about noise pollution from the mechanical equipment of the facilities. 

Kevin Mayo, Chandler's planning administrator, commented: "It's like your house AC system times a million noise-wise." As a consequence, locals have used headphones and pillows to cancel out the sound. Despite having tried to address the noise issue, specifically deriving from the CryusOne, with noise-reducing equipment, the city was unable to overcome this."

According to officials, the new legislation would limit the space in which new facilities could be built; it would also require noise studies to be conducted before and after the building and expansion of data centers. Moreover, going forward, developers would have to notify locals and hold meetings and liaisons. 

That said, some residents argue that these proposals won't change a lot, and the changes should have been introduced long ago. Karthic Thallikar, a resident in Brittany Heights, reflected: "If the data centers are still clustered around CyrusOne and Continuum, it's not going to change anything for us. What will help us is if the existing facilities make a concerted, good faith attempt to attenuate the noise such that we don't hear it in our neighborhood."

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