PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. - The vote came down around 2 on Wednesday afternoon, over 24 hours after the meeting and public comments started.
The Prince William County Board of Supervisors voted 4-3 with 1 abstention to approve the zoning applications that will pave the way for the massive data centers near Manassas National Battlefield Park.
Despite planning experts recommending denial twice, Compass — the company that submitted the zoning applications — is getting the green light to prop up dozens of data centers in the Gainesville area.
Hundreds of residents signed up to speak for and against the data center project.
Bill Wright, a resident who's against the centers, told FOX 5 outside the meeting that he believes there will be a legal challenge.
"I will not initiate that legal challenge, but I will support one that I expect to emerge," he said.
Ultimately, board supervisors voted along party lines; Republicans voted against the proposal, and Democrats voted for the proposal — aside from Democratic Supervisor Kenny Bodye who abstained.
"This project will go down if it's ever built to fruition. It will go down in infamy, I believe," said Supervisor Jeanine Lawson. "It's certainly not going to have my name attached to it."
Beverly Davis owns nearly forty acres of the property where the data centers are expected to be built.
He supports the construction and told FOX 5 that the developers are offering him more than anybody else for the land.
At the hearing, the data center companies insisted the notion that the project is harmful to the environment is false.
In a statement sent to FOX 5, Quality Technology Services said, "QTS is grateful to Prince William County and the Board of Supervisors for entrusting us with stewardship of the Prince William Digital Gateway, which is projected to bring an estimated $500 million in annual tax revenue to the County. QTS will continue to work diligently with County staff, elected officials, and residents as it carries out its environmental and responsible development commitments. We are excited for this partnership to strengthen the Prince William community and bring increased local tax revenue and new job opportunities."
Chris Curtis, Compass Datacenters SVP of Development and Acquisitions, released a statement on the vote which reads: "Compass Datacenters is grateful that the Board of County Supervisors has approved its rezoning application, affirming its alignment with the County’s 2022 plan for data center development. We thank the Board of County Supervisors, hundreds of project supporters and community members for their thoughtful feedback at this meeting and over the past year. We are committed to being a good neighbor in Prince William County and continuing a dialogue with all of our stakeholders as this project moves forward."