County officials have approved a zoning change to allow another data center development in Sterling, Northern Virginia, despite one of the supervisors later changing their decision against the proposal.

Long Drive Land Company LLC is seeking to rezone approximately 39.82 acres on the north side of Waxpool Road (Route 625) and west side of Pacific Boulevard (Route 1035) in Loudoun County to develop approximately 685,404 square feet (63,675 sqm) of data center space.

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– Loudoun County | Long Drive Land Company LLC

The currently undeveloped site is adjacent to the 1757 Golf Club; the development would be known as the Dulles 28 Technology Park. The land is seemingly owned by Dulles 28 Associates LLP.

County staff previously recommended that the Planning Commission not recommend approval, saying the proposed data center were "in direct conflict" with the land uses recommended within the Loudoun County 2019 General Plan.

The board approved that application, Dulles 28 Technology Park, on March 15 by a 6-3 vote. However, LoudounNow notes that Supervisor Sylvia R. Glass (D-Broad Run) reversed an earlier vote to approve the application, even if it didn’t change the outcome.

On April 5, Glass asked her colleagues to reconsider their earlier decision, saying the surrounding businesses would be harmed by data center development.

“Over the last two weeks, I’ve reevaluated my decision on this application, and have come to the determination that my vote for approval was the wrong choice,” Glass said. “I think it’s good to think about something and if you feel like that you’ve made the wrong decision, that you’re going to have to make that determination and try to change it. I feel that data center industrial uses on this parcel of land is not the appropriate decision.”

The three supervisors who voted against the application in March continued their opposition.

“The more we say yes to data centers, the more they’re going to squeeze out the type of use that we have envisioned right here in the suburban mixed-use place type,” Supervisor Juli E. Briskman (D-Algokian) said.

County Chair Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) applauded Glass for stepping up to publicly reconsider a vote, and said after visiting the golf course she believes building data centers would affect the course.

“When I say that data center is sitting on the golf course, I mean that data center is sitting on the golf course,” she said. “There’s not enough buffering in the world … to not see the data center.”

The new vote still saw the application approved 5-4. Those in support argued the site would not develop in any other way.

“This was one where it didn’t necessarily make sense to take one little parcel out of suburban mixed-use, but this is not a viable parcel for suburban mixed-use,” said Supervisor Matthew F. Letourneau (R-Dulles).

It’s unclear what firm might be the end-user of the facility. Equinix, Vantage, Evoque, CloudHQ, Digital Realty, Stack, and others have facilities in the area.

American Real Estate Partners and Harrison Street recently jointly acquired 10-acres of land on the opposite side of the 1757 Golf Club and plan to build a two-story, 265,000 sq ft (25,000 sq m) “powered shell” data center on the site.

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