Leesburg's Planning Commission has recommended denying a rezoning application for the former Westpark Golf Club in Vrginia's Loudoun County for a data center development.

The rezoning request, made by local landowner Chuck Kuhn, was for a 7.58-acre parcel that is currently zone B-3, reports Loudoun Now.

Westpark Golf Course
Westpark Golf Club & Course – Google Maps

Kuhn's request would change the parcel to Planned Employment Center District in order for an 86,400 sq ft (8,027 sqm) industrial/business park or a 202,600 sq ft (18,822 sqm) data center to be developed.

The request also asked for a "special exception" for additional uses in the location.

Land use manager Richard Klusek told the commission: “These applications do not adequately address specific land use, site design, and architectural concerns to ensure that the proposed development is compatible with the surrounding area and that potential impacts to nearby residential communities and parkland are mitigated."

Klusek added that Kuhn has not added any regional road contributions and that the water system on the property is not up to town standards.

Other concerns raised surrounded light pollution and environmental impacts. While the project could be for either a business park or a data center, the data center angle received most of the criticism.

Local resident Debra Dalby said that the project would be Leesburg's third data center. "Why do we need another one? Just for the money? Are we selling out just to get money? These data centers are like a cancer that just keep growing and growing and growing in this county. When will it stop?”

Kuhn's team argued that it was less likely that they would take the data center route.

Kuhn purchased the 142-acre property in 2020 and put most of the land under a conservation easement, selling the golf course to the county government to become a public park. The remaining property with the former golf club and hotel is the site in question.

Ultimately, the commission decided that there were too many unresolved issues and a lack of specificity in the request. It was the first recommendation of denial in the last seven years. The motion to deny passed 5-1-1.

“The concerns that were listed, those are significant concerns,” said commissioner Brian McAfee. “These are concerns I believe should have been addressed with town staff before moving the application before the Planning Commission. They’re very grand in size and scope and I don’t believe that the Planning Commission is necessarily qualified to address concerns such as the infrastructure, the wastewater management.”

Nearby to the Kuhn site, Leesburg town council officials voted in favor of a zoning application for a data center development in March 2024. That development is being pursued by Springfield East, LC, and is located at 42830 Golf Club Road and 1749 Russell Branch Parkway SE totaling 33.77 acres.

In August 2023, the Leesburg council passed design guidelines for data centers within the town limits. Those guidelines include the "encouragement" to make green construction decisions including avoiding sensitive land, installing alternative power sources, using free cooling where possible, and minimizing any impacts to forest areas, as well as expected requirements to provide "appropriate" parking capacity and space for queueing on entry.

There are also specific requirements regarding the aesthetic of the data centers, such that they should resemble a multi-story office building.