In my youth, I was a big fan of those cheesy science fiction movies from the 1950s that were televised on “Chiller Theater” every Saturday night. Two of my favorites were “Attack of the 50 Foot Woman” and “The Amazing Colossal Man,” both of which featured ordinary people horribly transformed by extraordinary events.
I experienced an awful flashback recently when I read Compass Datacenters’ rezoning application, which reads like the screenplay of a new science fiction movie being played out along Pageland Lane. It calls for multiple data center buildings with a maximum height of 100 feet. That would be taller than the 50-foot woman standing on the shoulders of the Amazing Colossal Man! This time, 825 acres are about to be horribly transformed by extraordinary events in the shocking sequel entitled, “Attack of the Prince William Digital Gateway.”
These movies usually feature a mad scientist whose grandiose overreach goes off the rails, leaving his accidental creation to terrorize the area. This sequel has plenty of mad scientists to go around. It’s more like mad science by committee. Developers, landowners, government employees, elected officials – all transfixed by the cynical delusion that their diabolical plans will go unnoticed by the hapless townspeople.
The ending to this story isn’t written yet. In the happy ending, the townspeople rise up with torches and bloodhounds to drive the evil scientists from their midst. In the darker ending, the townspeople slumber on until their fate is sealed.
Will you rise up or slumber?