Nokesville family asks county to designate farmland for data centers | Headlines

A Nokesville family is asking Prince William County to designate their nearly 277 acres for data centers.

The House family has submitted an application to change the designation of their property in the county’s Comprehensive Plan from agricultural estate to Data Center Edge District.

The application, submitted May 14, 2021, is for 276.98 acres across from the intersection of Vint Hill Road and Pioneer Drive. It is near Patriot High, E.H. Marsteller Middle and T. Clay Wood Elementary schools.

The property is zoned agricultural. If the Comprehensive Plan amendment is approved, the application indicates the landowners might file a rezoning to change it to business, industrial or planned business district zoning.

The application was filed by Kettle Wind Family Limited Partnership, Dale Allen House, Lisa House, the estate of Harold Ellis House, Donna House and Royall House Inc. 

According to the application, the family has farmed the property since the late 1950s.

The application asks the county to create the Data Center Edge District designation. It also asks the county to add language to the Comprehensive Plan saying its designated development area also includes “specific areas at the edges of the Development Area and Rural Area that are designated for the development of data centers.” 

The application proposes a definition for the district to be on a minimum of 40 acres and have access to existing high-voltage electricity lines. It says the 40-acre requirement “creates the critical mass desired by the industry and discourages the development of single buildings scattered across the County.”

The proposed definition says adjacent properties in the rural area will be protected by “substantial” buffers. Any environmental impacts for the district would be addressed through site plans. 

The application says it would serve the county’s goals to increase its commercial tax base.

“As a matter of equity, it also permits the repurposing of land no longer viable for farmland to a desirable use rather than trapping landowners in a decades-old designation that produces almost no benefits to the community,” the application says. 

The application says it would require the extension of water and sewer lines to the property. The family also plans to dedicate a “large area” along Vint Hill Road for a public park to “serve as an effective visual buffer.”

The property is already listed by Weber Rector Commercial Real Estate Services. A preliminary site plan on the real estate listing shows 10 data center buildings on the property.

The listing says the property’s tax assessment is $3.26 million. The sale price is listed as “To Be Determined.”

The application is for a change in the property designation in the Long-Range Land-Use Map of the Comprehensive Plan as part of the county’s ongoing update of the plan. It would be considered for approval as part of the final updated document.

If the designation is changed in the plan, it would still require a rezoning to allow data centers. However, conformity with the Comprehensive Plan would be a factor weighing in favor of any rezoning application.


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