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October 15, 2018

Planners ponder Vint Hill data center rezoning

This conceptual plan shows how the commercial property at Vint Hill might develop.
I’ve been talking to folks — specifically neighbors over at Vint Hill and the area — about what’s been happening over there. And so far as the application is phrased, they’ve been able to support it.
— Holder Trumbo, Scott District supervisor
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.

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

• When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18.

• Agency: Fauquier County Planning Commission.

• 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 will conduct a public hearing on a proposal designed to attract data center or government uses to Vint Hill.

The commission meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. in the Warren Green Building at 10 Hotel St. in Warrenton.

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

EFO Capital Management Inc. wants board approval for an additional 751,265 square feet of buildings at the former Amy base near New Baltimore. That amounts to a 24.2-percent increase. Vint Hill has approval for 3.1 million square feet of nonresidential structures.

If approved, the increase would apply to only data center and government uses on the 124-acre site at Aiken Drive and Kennedy Road, stressed planning consultant Chuck Floyd, who represents the applicant and landowners.

> Documents at bottom of story

“There are ongoing discussions right now about potential acquisition” with data center industry representatives, Mr. Floyd said. “Everybody’s kind of doing their due diligence to understand the fiber infrastructure, where NOVEC (Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative) is going to be with their power source and substation, where that is on the timetable and how much power they can get.”

The additional square feet of building space sought “will go a long way” toward sending a message that “Fauquier County would like Vint Hill to be developed,” he added.

Data center industry representatives he has spoken with “are very hesitant to believe that Fauquier County will support this application, because they’ve paid attention to the Fauquier market,” Mr. Floyd said. “And they haven’t seen a lot of necessarily good things to facilitate commercial/industrial development.”

The request for more building space also might make the property appealing to “something like the FAA, the CIA, NSA — one of those three-letter organizations who want to purchase some property,” he said. “We want to make sure we have the ability to sell it to them and they be able to develop it the way they want.”

In 2011, the FAA opened a 64,000-square-foot air traffic control system command center at Vint Hill and may lease a structure or build a new one there to meet its needs. The FAA employs about 800 people at Vint Hill.

While county Supervisor Holder Trumbo, whose Scott District includes Vint Hill, wants to hear more from citizens about the proposal, “I can tell you I’ve been talking to folks — specifically neighbors over at Vint Hill and the area — about what’s been happening over there. And, so far as the application is phrased, they’ve been able to support it.”

In answer to questions, he has assured neighbors that development on the site would be adequately buffered, the supervisor said.

“It’s like any other process, you walk through it,” Mr. Trumbo said. “But, at this point in time, I don’t have people coming at me going, ‘No, no. Don’t let this happen and here’s why.’

“For that reason, I think it probably is going to be supported.”

If the commission acts on the application Thursday, the supervisors could hold a work session and public hearing at their Nov. 8 meeting.

He favors data centers “in the right spot in the right way,” Mr. Trumbo said. “We want economic development.”

He appreciates criticism that data centers don’t create many jobs.

But “when you look at Vint Hill as an industrially zoned area and recognize that it is almost strangled by a lack of access as far as roads go, that’s why data centers make sense, because you don’t have a workforce with 1,000 people on a shift trying to get in and out of Rogues Road.”

French-based OVH, one of the world’s largest “cloud computer hosting companies has pledged to invest $150 million at Vint Hill, creating at least 100 jobs

The new rezoning application includes several concepts that show only data center buildings, data center and office buildings and a distribution center, a data center and two data or office buildings.

Contact Don Del Rosso at Don@FauquierNow.com or 540-270-0300.

Vint Hill Rezoning Applicai... by on Scribd

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