Letter: Ted Lewis, Leesburg

Editor: Recently, I attended the Planning Commission public hearing regarding a second rezoning request for the True North Data Center project. As you may remember, this is the same project that less than three years ago gained rezoning approval from the previous Board of Supervisors to place a data center in the Transition Policy Area directly adjacent to Goose Creek, a state scenic river.  

At the time of the approval, the developer indicated he had to start construction immediately as he had a data center operator who would locate there and start generating $17 million per year in tax dollars. As we all know, that never happen and shortly after the site was completely cleared of vegetation, it has sat vacant except for one small building ever since. 

At last week’s public hearing, the developer indicated he wants to rezone the property to include 60-feet-tall buildings, because of a demand from a data center operator who will locate there. However, we found out that the developer does not even have a letter of intent commitment to move forward with this project if the rezoning is approved. Doesn’t this story sound very familiar to what we heard in 2018? 

I commend Commissioners Forest Hayes and Ad Barnes who asked the developer tough questions and got the real facts of this rezoning out for the public to see. Unfortunately, the rest of the commissioners voted to send this rezoning request to work session to try to come to a compromise instead of denying it. I am not sure why the county feels it necessary to facilitate these rezonings and spend county time to try to figure out a way for this developer to make money by changing the zoning on this property. 

This rezoning goes to the Board of Supervisors next spring for a vote regardless of the vote made by the Planning Commission. 

As a resident in the Catoctin District, I will continue to fight to limit the development of data centers in the TPA that are 60 feet tall and located on the banks of a state scenic river. The developer has hired numerous experts and is paying them lots of money to make his case. I don’t have the time or the money to have a fair fight with the developer. However, that is where elected officials are supposed to come into play. The commissioners and supervisors in our districts are supposed to look after our best interests and they are not responsible for making sure speculative developers make money on their speculative projects. 

Catoctin District residents need to ask themselves whether 60-foot-tall data center buildings are the vision they want for our district. They also need to get involved and make sure their representatives know where they stand. The Board of Supervisor’s make up changed significantly in the last election because Loudoun residents became scared the previous board was not making land use decisions in the residents’ best interests. Hopefully, this new board does a better job listening to its constituents. 

Ted Lewis, Leesburg 

2 thoughts on “Letter: Ted Lewis, Leesburg

  • 2020-11-05 at 6:04 pm
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    OK. where does the rubber meet the road? BOS wants everyone to be paid even if they don’t work. BOS want everyone to be in a union even though there has never been a union created that could possible give more to members than the BOS already does. BOS even refuses to ask the $1.4 billion/year school board how much it is saving by not running 800 buses so why in the world would this same BOS give up $17 million of easy tax dollars they could give away to one of their favorite charities or high density developers or LCPS or anyone else who does very little to deserve incremental payments. Are you asking the BOS to depend on campaign donations to get by? The river will still be scenic after the data center is built but think of all the statues and plaques that might remain if we don’t give the BOS more money! 🙂

  • 2020-11-06 at 7:43 pm
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    Year in and year out, it is the same story. Developer comes to the BOS asking for approval of their project. It is given and then at some point they come back and ask for changes. It is a charade at best. Sometimes they want to flip their commercial zoning for housing. Developers have about as much respect for the now dearly departed Big Orange Moron. Why not just be honest up front and drop this silly game that the gullible BOS always swallows? Can’t for once we get a BOS who actually represents all of the people and not just the developers who chip into for their campaigns? Just once?

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