New data centers could be coming to a nearly 200-acre property in Bristow previously planned for a 1,000-home development known as “Stone Haven.”
The Prince William Board of County Supervisors approved a rezoning for the property, known as “The Hunter Property,” at its Tuesday, Sept. 7 meeting, paving the way for new data centers. Supervisors voted 7-1 to approve the rezoning with only Supervisor Kenny Boddye, D-Occoquan, voting against it. Boddye declined to comment Monday on why he opposed the rezoning.
The Hunter property is comprised of 196 acres of forested land next to Piney Branch Elementary School on Linton Hall Road in Bristow. It is adjacent to a planned 516-home development on Devlin Road, sometimes referred to as “Stone Haven-lite,” which was approved by the Prince William Board of County Supervisors in March 2020.
“This was originally [going to be] Stone Haven, and thousands of homes. I think this ends up being a better product, a better outcome for the people of Prince William County,” Supervisor Pete Candland, R-Gainesville, said about the rezoning during the meeting.
The Hunter property partially surrounds two existing single-family home neighborhoods, Amberleigh Station and Silver Leaf Estates, which together consist of more than 150 homes on Linton Hall Road. Some residents raised concerns about the impact of potential data centers on their neighborhoods during a June 3 planning commission hearing. Only one county resident expressed concern about the development during the board of supervisors’ public hearing on Sept. 7.
Most, but not all, of the Hunter property proposal is located within the county’s data center overlay opportunity zone, which allows by-right data center uses close to electrical transmission lines. The board of supervisors voted to expand the overlay district along with the rezoning to accommodate data center uses on the property.
The rezoning adds to a rapidly growing number of data centers and properties open to future data center development in Prince William. County officials and some on the board of county supervisors are pursuing growth in the local data center market because they are a major source of local tax revenue.
“This helps us inch near our goal of getting more of a commercial tax base in Prince William County … I think this helps further this goal,” Supervisor Margaret Franklin, D-Woodbridge, said at the board meeting.
The county is currently studying whether to further expand its data center overlay district. County officials say the amount of land available for data center uses within the nearly 10,000-acre district has dwindled significantly in recent years.
Christina Winn, executive director of the Prince William Department of Economic Development, said in a July 30 letter to the planning department that only 90 to 830 “developable greenfield acres remain within” the data center overlay district. The new estimate revised down a previous, May 2021 estimate that there were between 600 and 1,200 acres of remaining developable land in the overlay district.
“As a result of the quickly shrinking supply of available land, [the Department of Economic Development] believes it is important that … the county consider opportunities for additional data center sites critical to maintaining a robust pipeline of market-ready land available for data center prospects,” Winn said in the July 30 letter.