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The Future of Pageland Farm

To: Commissioner Berry and Planning Commissioners

I was rather surprised at your suggestion that an end user would buy my 188 acres and donate it to the county. I was not an economics major in college, but common sense would indicate that no buyer in their right mind would donate such a large tract. And as long as my sisters and I own the farm, we will never donate any part of our farm, put it into a conservation easement, or apply for PDR's. My sisters and I have no intention of continuing to farm. We have bigger plans. As previously stated, we are all in our 70's, and our children and grandchildren have absolutely no interest in farming. They are all professionals who would have to sacrifice their lucrative careers to take on the negative cash flow of farming. It's just not going to happen.

You suggest that a data center buyer would be able to use “intensity” from my land on other land in the Northern portion of the corridor. I have been told that that up to 2,456,780 SF of data center square footage (188 acre at 0.30 FAR) could be transferred elsewhere in the corridor; however it cannot be accommodated elsewhere without larger, higher and closer - together data centers buildings, that would have smaller buffers to Catharpin Estates (and Sudley Road) and narrower open space corridors.

I would like to be honest and make you aware of my by right options. Large acreages such as mine are in great demand, especially considering my location next to I66.

  1. Two large, out of state companies who specialize in entertainment venues have approached me. They are especially interested in our farm because of its size and its location between 2 parks.

  2. A logging company has expressed interest in harvesting my 40 acre mature hardwood forest next to Heritage Hunt. What makes it particularly attractive to them is the large stands of valuable black walnut trees throughout.

  3. At least 6 solar companies have contacted me for rental agreements. It is especially appealing to them because 148 acres are already cleared.

Pageland Farm WILL be developed. Obviously our first choice is data centers. If that does not materialize, we will ask for rezoning for housing. I will accept the offer from the logging company to clear-cut in order to increase the acreage for housing. As a retired county social worker and a former Section 8 housing supervisor, I am more aware than most of our critical housing shortage, especially for low income families. Any deal I make with a builder will include requirements for low income housing as well as transitional housing for domestic abuse, mental health, and substance abuse. My farm is located less than a mile from a transportation hub and commuter parking lot.

Some of you recognize the writing on the wall concerning areas of the Rural Crescent. Others still cling to the misapprehension that nothing should or will change. You have heard all the arguments as to why data centers are the best option, so I will not belabor those. My purpose here is to make sure that you are aware that something other than farming will take place here. Understanding that, I would think that you will recommend a use that will provide the county with much public benefit at the least cost to taxpayers and the least burden on our schools and infrastructure.

Please look carefully at the County Staff and the Applicant’s proposals. There is no environmentally sensitive land on my farm that is not proposed to be parkland or protected open space. My land is outside the Core area of the Battle of Second Manassas. There are no (zero) known historic structures or cemeteries on my farm that are listed (or eligible to be listed) on the National Register.

Thank you,

Page Snyder and sisters

Pageland Farm

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