In December 2023, before adjourning for the holidays, the Fauquier County Board of Supervisors passed resolutions that will impact data center development in the county. These guidelines include requirements relating to access and parking, building orientation and scale, siting criteria and site design, among other issues.
With our experience in transportation analyses and recommendations for data centers under development, the Board’s resolution is not surprising, as it seeks to preserve community standards and environments while keeping the door open to economic development.
Fauquier County’s Data Center Guidelines
These guidelines come in response to the dozens of data centers that have been approved in the region already and represent the Board’s efforts to support “the core tenets of Fauquier County by establishing strict guidelines to ensure Data Centers do not diminish the scenic, rural, or agricultural character so highly valued by County residents.”
Amidst these concerns, the Board’s “Resolution to Adopt a Data Center Development Policy” (dated December 14, 2023) states clearly that “the Board of Supervisors wishes to encourage high quality Data Center development that creates a functional and attractive environment in a manner which encourages visual continuity and compatibility with neighboring properties.”
Here are some excerpts from the Fauquier County Board of Supervisors Data Center Policy, dated December 14, 2023:
Building Placement and Orientation
- Buildings should be sited and oriented to minimize visual impacts from public streets and adjacent non-industrial uses.
- It is also encouraged that the narrow face of the building be oriented to the street.
- Loading dock, ground equipment and other storage areas should not be viewable from important viewsheds, street frontages and open spaces.
- Consider topography to avoid placement of larger buildings in a prominent location on the property or along a public street.
Siting Criteria: Zoning/Land Use
- Data Centers shall only be located within Service Districts in areas with compatible Land Use designations.
- Data Centers shall only be in the Business Park (BP) zoning district and Planned Commercial Industrial District (PCID) overlay district, as approved on applicable Concept Development Plans.
Siting Criteria: Compatibility
- Data Centers should not be located contiguous to residentially zoned land or land used or planned for a park, school or medical care facility.
- For data centers located adjacent to residentially zoned land or land used or planned for a park, school or medical care facility, the Applicant should demonstrate the measures taken to address and achieve compatibility with the adjacent uses.