The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has voted to approve the rezoning of a 12-acre parcel of land in Chantilly, Virginia, for a 110-ft tall data center.
The parcel is located at Lee Jackson Memorial Highway and Stonecroft Boulevard, which will position the data center in proximity to Route 50, existing warehouses, and around a half-mile away from homes.
News that Penzance was looking to develop in Chantilly first arose in October 2022, and in September 2023 the county planners recommended approval for the development. The data center will span 402,000 sq ft (37,350 sqm) across three stories.
The board ultimately voted 8-1 in favor of the rezoning after three hours of discussion and public comment. The lone nay-vote was from Patty Herrity.
“Weighed in its totality, we have to make a hard decision about what to do,” chairman Jeffrey McKay said prior to the vote. “I feel like we’ve met the standard of the due diligence, the review, the amount of time that we have put into this.”
The height of the data center - which will be the tallest in the county - has raised some concerns. Local resident Cynthia Shang, founder of "Save Pleasant Valley" - a group of Virginia residents opposed to this data center development - has criticized the height, arguing that it "drives the noise" and "drives the number of generators."
According to Shang, Save Pleasant Valley is considering whether it can take legal action against the vote. The group has thus far raised $7,411 in order to fund the opposition. though the latest update said it has "$485.26 left which is earmarked for flyers/signs advertising the Jan. 23rd hearing," adding, "We are investigating legal options, but do not have any firm commitments yet."
Planning commission documents suggest the noise disruption for nearby residents will be about 50 decibels.
Residents also raised environmental concerns regarding potential diesel leaks contaminating the Occoquan reservoir.
The applicant, an affiliate of Penzance, has agreed to add safety measures to enclose the diesel generators, provide water quality monitoring, a noise study, and the intent to seek LEED Silver certification, details of which can be seen in the January 22 Board Draft Proffer.
In addition, the applicant will dedicate a 67-acre resource protection area on the property as a park to create a "buffer" between the facility and residents.
Dominion will also build a new substation to serve the data center.