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October 19, 2018

Planners support Vint Hill data center proposal

DVA Architects LLC
Data center conceptual illustration, one of many Vint Hill property owners’ representative showed to Fauquier County Planning Commission staff and chairman.
We are trying to move forward a development pattern in Vint Hill that complements the people that are there and respects the rural heritage that’s around it.
— Landowners’ planning consultant Chuck Floyd
Public Hearing
• Topic: Proposed rezoning amendments to concept development plan and proffers to allow an additional 751,265 square feet of nonresidential building space at Vint Hill; additional square feet requested would apply to only data center and government uses.

• When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18.

• Agency: Fauquier County Planning Commission.

• Action: Commission unanimously recommended board of supervisors’ approval of application.

• Length: About 8 minutes.

• Speakers: 2 Vint Hill residents who voiced concerns about site-related issues, the size and site of a planned electrical substation to serve potential data centers and lighting; the applicant/landowners' representative.

• Where: Warren Green Building, 10 Hotel St., Warrenton.

• Applicant: EFO Capital Management Inc.

• Property owners: Vint Hill Village LLC and Vint Hill Land 1 LLC.

• Next: The board of supervisors, which will take final action on the application, could hold a Nov. 8 work session and public hearing on the project.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
Fauquier’s planning commission Thursday night unanimously backed a proposal that aims to attract data centers to Vint Hill.

After an eight-minute public hearing, the commission recommended approval of applicant EFO Capital Management Inc.’s request for an additional 751,265 square feet of buildings on the former Army base near New Baltimore.

The 24.2-percent increase would apply to only data center and government uses on 124 acres at Aiken Drive and Kennedy Road.

Vint Hill has approval for 3.1 million square feet of nonresidential structures. To date, 850,000 square feet has been constructed at the former 695-acre property.

An advisory panel, the commission makes recommendations to the board of supervisors, which has final authority.

The supervisors will hold a public hearing Nov. 8 on EFO’s application to amend Vint Hill’s concept development plan and proffers.

Two people — both Vint Hill residents — and the applicant/landowners' representative spoke during the planning commission public hearing Oct. 18 in Warrenton.

Melanie Whitesides expressed doubts about using the proposed site for data centers.

“I’m not opposed to data centers,” said Ms. Whitesides, a 14-year resident of Vint Hill. “I’m just questioning why they’re using the best property in Vint Hill — it’s going to be across from (the planned) veterans’ hospital — for these data centers.

“There’s plenty of other locations in Vint Hill that it could be located,” she said.

Planning consultant Chuck Floyd, who represents the applicant and landowners, told the commission he believes the proposed location represents the best remaining option for that property.

The proposal seeks to “isolate” potential data centers from residential areas and locate them in the “industrial park part of Vint Hill,” Mr. Floyd explained.

Julie Sweedler, who moved to Vint Hill five years ago, wanted to know about the height and visibility of the planned, on-site electrical substation that would serve potential data centers.

Specifics about a substation would be detailed in a separate application, requiring special exception approval, Mr. Floyd said.

That review process involves public hearings before the planning commission and the board of supervisors, which will have the final say.

As required by the zoning ordinance, all power lines serving the substation would be underground, Mr. Floyd said.

“We are trying to move forward a development pattern in Vint Hill that complements the people that are there and respects the rural heritage that’s around it,” he added.

Planning Commission Chairwoman Adrienne Garreau, whose Scott District includes Vint Hill, called data centers “a good fit” partly because of limited road access to the property.

Data centers typically don’t generate a lot of jobs or much vehicle traffic.

“It’s not that we’re getting thousands and thousands of new employees,” Ms. Garreau said. “That’s the good news and bad news.”

The proposal also helps retain the “rural feel of the area adjacent to Vint Hill,” the chairwoman added.

Contact Don Del Rosso at or 540-270-0300.
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