Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Prince William Digital Gateway CPA Approved

This morning just before 9 am and after a marathon all night meeting lasting 14 hours the Prince William County Board of County Supervisors voted to approve the Comprehensive Plan Amendment for the Prince William Digital Gateway. The vote was straight across party lines with the Democrats voting for industrial development in the rural area and Republicans voting against. (Supervisor Candland reclused himself and did not attend.)

This development in the northern portion of the Rural Crescent threatens the health of the Occoquan watershed and the very sustainability and affordability of the drinking water supply for Northern Virginia including 350,000 residents of Prince William County. When an undeveloped or generally open rural area is developed stormwater runoff increases in quantity and velocity washing away stream banks, flooding roads and buildings carrying fertilizers, oil and grease, and road salt to the Occoquan Reservoir.

The total amount of planned data center space exceeds existing data center square footage in Loudoun County (the data center capital of the nation and the world). It took Loudoun County 14 years to build out the existing data centers and Loudoun County still has approved data centers that have not yet been built. The majority of the 2,400 acres in the existing Data Center Overlay district are owned by data center development companies or directly by data center operators. This land has not yet been built.

The one growing sector of electricity demand in Virginia is data centers, and, wow, is that growing. In 2018 power demand for data centers was just over 1 gigawatt of power, by 2022 that had reached 2.6 gigawatt of power this past fall and is projected to double that in the next few years with projects already under way. 

It is clear that there is no limit to the desirability of data centers to county supervisors and landowners. The counties have been blinded by the windfall profits to the landowners and the prospect of increased tax revenue. They will more than double the number of data centers in all of Northern Virginia with this approval and this massive change in use will bring great wealth to the landowners- land that was worth $25,000-$50,000 is now magically be worth almost $1,000,000 an acre to be used for data centers, but these windfall profits come at the cost of degradation of our land and water resources and increased power and water costs for all Virginians. 

I offer my congratulations to Maryanne Gahaban on orchestrating the sale of the 194 parcels and 2,139 acres of rural and rural residential land for $2.1 billion dollars. Well played. Take your money and go.


No comments:

Post a Comment