Northern Virginia: Prince William County Planning Commission delves into PW Digital Gateway data center proposal

Jul 29, 2022 | Posted by MadalineDunn

Prince William County officials have begun to delve into the PW Digital Gateway data center proposal in its first public review. Since it was first proposed, the project has been controversial. Proponents argue that the project will bring significant financial gains for the area, while opponents claim that the project endangers the local environment and has raised concerns around water quality, and power usage.

Last Wednesday, the Planning Commission held a work session to discuss the application, which last year saw landowners request a change to their land designation from agricultural zoning to technology zoning, as well as the Board of Supervisors expanding the request to cover 2,100 acres, which, according to a report by InsideNova, could give way to 27.6 million square feet of data centers.

There are also recommendations to split certain regulations between the northern end and the southern end, with Gainesville Commissioner Richard Berry, arguing that it doesn’t represent “good planning” to pursue development in an area with “cultural, environmental and historic sensitivity, such as the southern section of this plan.” He added: “I personally don’t think it’s a suitable area for development — commercial or residential.” In the North, meanwhile, height restrictions are being proposed at 100ft, and 65ft in the south comparatively - there are also 150 ft buffers being proposed on all sides of the development throughout the corridor. 

Brentsville Commissioner Tom Gordy and Gainesville Commissioner Richard Berry, have reportedly requested more information about the power needs of the proposal, and information around whether any potential additional infrastructure would be required.

The County staff will reportedly use feedback from the work session last week to create a second plan.