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Planning commission OKs more data centers for Vint Hill

Fauquier supervisors will have the final say

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Vint Hill generic

A scene from Vint Hill.

A move to allow more data centers to be constructed north of Vint Hill Parkway at Vint Hill has the backing of the Fauquier County Planning Commission.

The Fauquier County Board of Supervisors will have the final say on the request filed by Vint Hill Village LLC and Vint Hill Land 1 LLC. The applicant is EFO Capital Management Inc.

In the face of opposition, a previous proposal to construct additional housing on undeveloped land at Vint Hill was withdrawn.

Vint Hill, formerly an Army base, is now home to a housing community, several small businesses, an FAA facility and an OVH data center. It’s also the future home of an assisted living and rehabilitation center for military veterans.

“Water and sewer have now been extended and fiber has been laid,” to support the data center or a government use, as proposed by the landowners, said Holly Meade, assistant director of the Fauquier County’s Community Development Department.

The rezoning application included a revised proffer statement promising to screen the data center site from public view. More information about architectural features of the new construction will be coming, she said.

Residential development isn’t part of the application to revise the approved concept development plan, she said.

Melanie Whitesides of Vint Hill said she is concerned that a planned school site had been eliminated from the original Vint Hill plan.

“Vint Hill is a perfect location” for a school, she said.

Charles Floyd, who represents the applicant and landowners, explained the Vint Hill school site was “swapped” some years ago for one on Riley Road where Auburn Middle School is located.

Floyd said there will likely be two electrical substations supplying power through underground transmission lines. The supervisors must also approve a special-exception permit  for the substations, and a separate application will be filed for that, Floyd explained. 

An 8.6-acre site for the substations is under contract for sale to NOVEC.

“There is no other land at Vint Hill [suitable] for data centers,” Floyd said. “We don’t feel it’s appropriate to put them next to residential. It’s more appropriate in an industrial area.

“Marketing the property is very difficult,” he continued. The county desires commercial development “but would not like to widen Vint Hill Road,” which is two lanes in that area.

“At the end of the day, if there are refinements needed we are committed to making them,” Floyd said. “If we’re not going in the right direction I don’t know what direction to go in.”

Planning Commission Chairperson Adrienne Garreau, who represents Scott District, which includes Vint Hill, said Fauquier County benefits from the lower cost of land compared to its neighbors to the north and east, Loudoun and Prince William counties.

Data centers “are not going to bring in thousands of employees. Our challenge are the roads and the desire to keep the rural feel,” Garreau said.

She introduced a motion to recommend the board of supervisors approve of the concept development plan change and proffers. It was approved 5-0.

Reach James Ivancic at jivancic@fauquier.com.

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