Supervisor Sylvia R. Glass (D-Broad Run) reversed an earlier vote to approve an application to permit data center development at the intersection of Pacific Boulevard and Waxpool Road next to 1757 Golf Club, asking her colleagues on April 5 to instead deny the application. However, the Board of Supervisors as whole reaffirmed its previous vote to approve that application.
The board approved that application, Dulles 28 Technology Park, on March 15 by a 6-3 vote, with County Chair Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large), Vice Chair Koran T. Saines (D-Sterling) and Supervisor Juli E. Briskman (D-Algokian) opposed. The proposal includes two data centers near the northwest corner of the intersection, and a third building near Auto World Circle, replacing plans for hotel, office, and auto-service development. The site wraps around part of the golf club.
The Planning Commission recommended approving the application with a 5-2-2 vote, with Commissioners Jane Kirchner (Algonkian) and Roger Vance (Blue Ridge) opposed and Ad Barnes (Leesburg) and Mark Miller (Catoctin) absent. However county staff members recommended against it, citing a direct conflict with the county comprehensive plan. That area is included in Loudoun’s Suburban Mixed Use place type in the general plan, calling for a mix of residential and commercial uses in a vertically integrated setting. Senior Planner Marchant Schneider also told supervisors that data centers will not integrate with the surrounding area.
On April 5, Glass asked her colleagues to reconsider their earlier decision. And she said the surrounding businesses would be harmed by data center development.
“Over the last two weeks I’ve reevaluated my decision on this application, and have come to the determination that my vote for approval was the wrong choice,” Glass said. “I think it’s good to think about something and if you feel like that you’ve made the wrong decision, that you’re going to have to make that determination and try to change it. I feel that data center industrial uses on this parcel of land is not the appropriate decision.”
The three supervisors who voted against the application in March continued their opposition.
“The more we say yes to data centers, the more they’re going to squeeze out the type of use that we have envisioned right here in the suburban mixed-use place type,” Briskman said.
Randall applauded Glass for stepping up to publicly reconsider a vote, and said after visiting the golf course she believes building data centers would affect the course.
“When I say that data center is sitting on the golf course, I mean that data center is sitting on the golf course,” she said. “There’s not enough buffering in the world … to not see the data center.”
But while supervisors agreed to the reconsideration vote, allowing Glass to flip her vote on the application, the board did not change its final decision. Supervisors this time voted to approve the application 5-4, with Glass joining Briskman, Randall and Saines in voting no. Those in support argued the site would not develop in any other way.
“This was one where it didn’t necessarily make sense to take one little parcel out of suburban mixed use, but this is not a viable parcel for suburban mixed use,” said Supervisor Matthew F. Letourneau (R-Dulles).