Controversial data center debate continues as Prince William County Board votes against proposed land use hold

Prince William County's Board of Supervisors voted down a proposal Tuesday that would've put any conversations about land use – including controversial data centers – on hold.

The community came out in numbers again to make sure board supervisors knew where they stand when it comes to these data centers. 

The majority of the board voted 5 – 3 against Supervisor Jeanine Lawson’s resolution to take a pause on any conversations about land use between Nov. 7 to Dec. 31, which is the lame-duck session. 

"We should refrain from controversial land use votes as some of us may be heading out the door," Lawson said. 


Data center community meeting canceled amidst controversy

Inside the Hilton Garden Inn in Haymarket, datacenter developer QTS planned to host an open house community meeting.

It’s an election year for the board, and Lawson believes the newly elected board should hold discussions and make decisions on future matters, which include public hearings on the use of land and the proposed data centers. 

Some say this was an effort to delay moving forward with the Prince William Digital Gateway.

Elena Schlossberg is with the coalition to protect Prince William County. She tells FOX 5 she's involved in the fight because, "It's terrible land use planning and consumes our natural and cultural resources." 

She does not want data centers anywhere near her home in Haymarket. 

"They're in the wrong places," Schlossberg explained. "We have come to a place where industrialization is being turned into preservation. We are all in a twilight zone." 

But residents and supporters of the Prince William Digital Gateway, like Mary Ann Ghadban, believe these data centers could be the greatest economic boost for the county. 

They say it would bring money for better schools, jobs, and reduce the residential tax burden. 

"It’s a win-win for Prince William County," Ghadban said.

Her home is located at the proposed site for the data center, and she says her property is currently under contract to be sold to a developer. 

"It’s time for us to grow and our county to move up," Ghadban said. "I grew up in Prince William, so I know what it is like for Prince William to be a second-class county, and it’s time for that to end." 

For people against the data centers, who wanted the board to pause on further discussions, Lawson has a message: "Don’t lose hope! Don’t lose heart. There is more to come in this story."