Northern Virginia: Loudoun County is updating its guidelines for future data center development

Jul 22, 2022 | Posted by MadalineDunn

Loudoun County, which currently has more data centers than anywhere else in the world, is reportedly updating its guidelines around the development of future data centers in response to the incredible industry growth at work in the area and opposition from locals over noise pollution and data center expansion. According to the Transportation and Land Use Committee (TLUC), the industry will have an opportunity to give its feedback on the proposals, and the full Board of Supervisors has also been sent the proposals, which they will consider in late September. 

The regulations will govern the location and appearance of future data centers and outline:
  • Limitations on data center growth in certain areas, specifically avoiding ​​data center development along Route 7, which currently doesn't have the power infrastructure to support data centers. This would be addressed through a rewrite of zoning ordinances.
  • New data centers would be required to meet new building standards around sustainability and proximity to residential areas. 

Commenting on the proposal, TLUC Chair Michael Turner said: "We want to protect existing data center developments. We asked the industry to come here and build. They've been great community partners. The goal here is to protect people with skin in the game." While Supervisor Caleb Kershner echoed similar sentiments: "My goal is to see data centers continue to grow and prosper here in the county. Providing regulatory and legal certainty is important in not disrupting this industry."

That said, while there is undoubtedly support for the industry within the area, due to the significant financial contribution it has added to the area, the Board has also recognized the importance of incorporating the concerns of residents, who have repeatedly complained about noise pollution, the impact of rising land values on affordable housing and facilities' proximity to locals.