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PW Digital Gateway: countering the nay-sayers. A response to Senators Kaine and Warner

As a member of a group of generational farmers in Prince William County, Virginia, I am respectfully submitting to you information countering claims from those against changing the 1998 10-acre residential zoning restriction to zoning that would enable us to sell to a data center.

Foremost among these claims is that the proposed Digital Gateway will lead to the resurrection of the Bi-County Parkway, which was voted down in 2017. This is not true. On May 2, the Prince William Board of supervisors scratched the Bi-County Parkway from their plans. It is no longer needed because:

1) The data center will pay for the expansion of Pageland Lane to four lanes.

2) Plans are already underway for widening the route 234 part of the Parkway.

3) The increase in traffic volume generated by the Gateway will be minimal compared to other commercial projects, and will require neither a connection to I-66 nor a widening of nearby roads.

They also claim the Gateway will lead to a glut of other commercial projects that will result in increased traffic. This is not true, as the application clearly states that it will be for data centers ONLY.

The Gateway will ruin the views from the Manassas Battlefield Park, also not true because:

1) The sellers paid for extensive balloon tests which they coordinated with the Park. The tests proved conclusively to the Park that, with the tree buffers already in place and the construction of berms, there will be no negative impact to views from the Park.

2) Instead, the Gateway project will be actually be a boon for the Park because:

a. The applicant has already agreed to donate additional parkland to connect Conway Robinson with the Battlefield.

b. The widening of Pageland Lane will allow the Park to achieve its long desired goal of decreasing traffic through its center.

The data center will be a massive monstrosity many stories high. This is not true, as the application states that the it will NOT exceed 0.3 F-A-R and stringent measures will be coordinated with the County to mitigate negative environmental impacts.

The data center will desecrate hallowed ground. Exhaustive studies by certified archeologists show conclusively there is NEITHER proof NOR evidence that civil war burials, OR battles took place there. They also did not find any cemeteries for enslaved peoples.

The tax payers will have to pay for water and sewer for the data centers. NOT TRUE. The data centers will pay for their own water and sewer.

Data Centers massive requirements for water will deplete the water supply and their runoff will contaminate drinking water.

1) This is no longer true of new data centers being built today, which utilize innovative technologies wherever they can to save money on energy.

2) They use close-looped systems that recirculate the water. Compared to most golf courses, they require less water and do not leech fertilizer and weed killer into our watersheds.

Data Centers will be plowing up OUR heritage. This is not true because:

1) The land is not public.

2) It is privately owned by families who have already plowed it up and farmed it for generations.

If you got this far, I sincerely appreciate your taking the time to hear both sides of the story.

Thank you,

Patricia Leone


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