Press Release: BOCS Shows Leadership, “Gets It 100% Right” with Zoning Text Update

Executive director says: ”Nine months of citizen-county-business collaboration have paid off. Well done.”

Haymarket, Virginia (May 18, 2016) – Tuesday evening, the Prince William County Board of Supervisors voted 7-1 to approve Zoning Text Amendment A, which helps properly site data centers and supporting infrastructure, including electrical substations.

Coalition executive director Elena Schlossberg stated, “By passing ZTA A, our supervisors took the excellent work done by Planning Director Chris Price and adopted it into law. Besides a well-defined ‘Data Center Opportunity Zone,’ businesses gain certainty about the ‘how’ and ‘when’ of data center development project approval – and citizens can rest a little easier knowing that both data centers and their necessary infrastructure will be sited appropriately, with reasonable oversight.”

Schlossberg added emphatically, “It’s easy to miss how important ZTA A will be. The Dominion-Amazon extension cord fiasco exposed a loophole in county permitting. And this is not because of the data center itself, but because the site lacks needed infrastructure – electrical power, in this case. So instead of applying the same level of regulatory scrutiny that a cellphone tower or Chik-Fil-A drive-through receive, we get secrecy, an overhead extension cord, eroded property values, and years of community chaos. Frankly, the vagueness and volatility of the status quo benefits no one. ZTA A means use and support will be addressed together, in an established process, with citizen and supervisor input.”

“Look at the recent Iron Mountain win targeted for western Manassas. Right place. Right infrastructure. And the first phase of an eventual 350,000 square feet it will be up and running a year or more ahead of Amazon’s expanded Haymarket facility. Certainty is good for business,” Schlossberg noted.

Schlossberg continued, “In the August 2015 resolutions, the BOCS directed that very specific actions be taken, including an update to county zoning regulations. Planning Director Chris Price took that direction, and crafted language that gives citizens and businesses more certainty. Win-win situations do not just happen. Chris created this outcome. County citizens (who sent close to 600 emails to the Board), and businesses, owe Chris and his staff a huge ‘thank you!’”

“I could call out almost all of the supervisors for their individual contributions,” Schlossberg concluded. “Supervisors Candland and Lawson were passionate about protecting property rights and values. Supervisor Principi added a friendly amendment to balance investors’ need for speed with proper oversight. And Chairman Stewart crafted a path to a fair, balanced outcome which Supervisors Anderson, Caddigan, and Jenkins also supported. To all seven who stayed true to the Board’s original intention, your citizens are grateful.”