Northern Virginia: Prince William County supervisors board sued over PW Digital Gateway decision

Dec 14, 2022 | Posted by MadalineDunn

Following the Prince William County Board of Supervisors' decision to give the green light to the controversial PW Digital Gateway, it is now being faced with two lawsuits. The decision, which will permit changing the area's comprehensive plan, opening up the area to 25 million sq ft (2.3 million sqm) of data center development, is reportedly viewed as 'tainted' by the first complainants who also argue that the board "failed to consider" the proposal's impact on the environment and the nearby historical Manassas National Battlefield Park. Likewise, the complainants say that the board did not adequately consider the effects of noise, traffic, and "visual blight" on the surrounding community. In a second lawsuit, the Oak Valley Homeowners Association, Inc., and several local landowners argue that the decision was "arbitrary and capricious."

The first lawsuit has reportedly been filed against Prince William's Board of County Supervisors, Chair Ann Wheeler, and Supervisor Pete Candland by Roger Yackel, Roger Miller, and Gainesville Citizens for Smart Growth. In their complaint, the group said that the County's "desire" to "reap funds" from the data center industry, "does not justify the overreaching scope of the [comprehensive plan amendment]." 

Both lawsuits aim to reverse the comprehensive plan amendment, with the latter seeking a permanent injunction preventing the Board from taking any further action to implement the comprehensive plan amendment (CPA). It also claims that the board violated Virginia Law. The former is specifically aimed at Wheeler and Candland, with the former being criticized for her investments in data center companies. 

Mac Haddow, President of the Oak Valley HOA, a 254-member homeowners association, said they expect to be successful in their challenge to the BOCS' decision to proceed with the PWDG. Oak Valley Homeowners Association also owns land near the PW Digital Gateway project area in Gainesville.