In 2019, Supervisor Lawson was one of four to be named to NVTC's Class of Honorees for Data Center Legislation at the NVTC-hosted Inaugural Virginia Data Center Awards.
Pictured left: Lawson and her fellow 2019 Class of Honorees -including Virginia State Senator Ryan McDougle, Virginia Delegate Tim Hugo, and former Prince William County Board of Supervisors member Marty Nohe- all smiles, and all in for data center development!
In 2019, Lawson approved the first data center campus both outside of the Data Center Overlay District (DCOZOD) and next door to Manassas Battlefield Park, Conway Forest, and Pageland Lane. Gainesville Crossing, a three-million square foot campus located within the MNBP viewshed protection area and the 2nd MNBP study area, was followed by more major data center projects outside the corridor, all approved by Lawson - including Hornbaker Road, Linton Hall Road, and Wellington Road. Most recently, Lawson has also been a proponent for replanning Devlin Road for only data centers. Similarly, Lawson's approval of the Hunter Tract property for a data center eliminated the possibility of high-density housing in the Western end of the county.
Supervisor Lawson and her Planning Commissioner more recently supported the Devlin Technology Park applications. Supervisor Lawson made the motion to initiate an out of turn Comprehensive Plan Amendment on May 24, 2022. On July 27, 2022, Planning Commissioner Gordy moved approval of the Comprehensive Plan Amendment and the rezoning, as well as a proposed expansion of the DCOZOD to include the Devlin land.
The Devlin application is very different from the PWDG applications:
In Devlin, the Data Center abuts a public elementary school. In PWDG, the closest public school is over one mile away.
In Devlin, there is only a 100 ft. buffer between abutting residential subdivisions and the data centers. In PWDG, the buffer and open space ranges between a depth of 400 feet and well over 1,000 feet, that is either preserved forest or replanted forest.
In Devlin, the primary two entrance roads to the existing residential neighborhoods will also be the primary entrance roads for the data centers. In PWDG, the primary data center entrance road (Pageland Lane) will not be a primary entrance road for a residential neighborhood.
In Devlin, a minimum of 20% of the site will be open space. In PWDG, a minimum of 30% of the site will be open space.
In Devlin, the maximum overall intensity of data center buildings is 1.0 FAR. In PWDG, the maximum overall intensity of data center buildings is 0.30.
Data centers are not the problem. Data centers are the solution. County officials should embrace the most viable commercial tax base available to us. Proper planning is key, and the current Board has learned from Lawson's mistakes and the necessary steps are being taken to put data centers in the proper location. This includes buffers, proffered architectural, noise mitigation, environmental resource protection, and other site design characteristics, which are not part of the DCOZOD created in-part by Lawson.