Loudoun supervisors on April 5 began a process to gain more control over where new data centers can be built.
The proposed zoning ordinance amendment would eliminate by-right construction of data centers in the commercial districts along Rt. 50, mostly east of Gum Spring Road.
“Certainly those of you who have heard the discussion about the Rt. 50 power lines know where this is coming from,” said Supervisor Matthew F. Letourneau (R-Dulles). The State Corporation Commission is holding hearings on Dominion Virginia Power’s controversial plan to erect power lines along Rt. 50 to serve a planned data center.
Letourneau said the Rt. 50 corridor has developed “in a very patchwork sort of way,” resulting in residential developments interspersed among commercial districts. As a permitted use in those commercial areas, new data centers can be built next to residential developments, and the county has no power to stop them or impose conditions to limit their impact.
“I want to emphasize that what we’re doing is making this a special exception,” Letourneau said. “I think there are some CLI [Commercial Light Industrial] parcels that are probably OK for a data center, but there are also some that happen to be basically sandwiched between residential zoned parcels.”
The county staff will now begin work on a revision of the CLI zoning district rules, followed by public hearings and voting at the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors.