Maryland: Frederick County establishes work group to look at data centers

Jun 28, 2023 | Posted by MadalineDunn

In Frederick County, a place which has become a highly attractive data center zone and is the location site of Quantum Loophole’s massive and recently paused data center campus, Frederick County Executive Jessica Fitzwater has formed a workgroup for data centers. 

Fitzwater formed the group in order to examine laws pertaining to data centers in the region, in order to stimulate greater discussion around data center development as more companies target the area. 

According to the County, the workgroup is in response to recommendations from two Transition Team committees, Economic Development; and Sustainability, Infrastructure and Transportation to develop a model for critical data infrastructure that leverages the benefits of data centers while protecting the environment and Frederick County’s quality of life.

The group will reportedly look at lessons from Northern Virginia’s experience with data centers and assess the following: 
  • Appropriate locations for data centers; 
  • Taxation issues 
  • Water, power, and other infrastructure needs of data centers; 
  • Potential community benefits; and
  • Potential amendments to the County’s critical digital infrastructure law.

Further to this, Fitzwater also signed an executive order to pause piecemeal rezoning requests until the workgroup issues its report.

Speaking about this development, County Executive Jessica Fitzwater said: “The data center industry brought economic and tax benefits to Northern Virginia, and it also brought concerns about environmental sustainability, energy and water usage, noise, vibration, and impacts on the quality of life.

Adding: “This community-led, government-informed workgroup will consider the issues surrounding data centers in an open and transparent public process and issue recommendations for the County Council to consider.”

Council Member Renee Knapp, set to serve on the workgroup, commented: “Residents of Frederick County expect us to get this right, and the County Executive assembled a balanced group with a range of perspectives. Together, we will propose a fair regulatory structure that preserves our environment, protects our quality of life, and provides stability and predictability for those who want to invest in the data center industry.”