Central Virginia Data Center Update

October 23, 2023

The growing demand for data center space in Virginia increasingly has led the industry to locations outside northern Virginia. As a result, many central Virginia jurisdictions recently revised their planning and zoning guidance to address where and how data centers may be approved and how potential architecture, noise and environmental concerns are to be addressed.

On Oct. 10, 2023, the Caroline County Board of Supervisors adopted a new zoning district, the Planned Innovation Research and Technology Park District, in which data centers are a permitted use. Detailed development standards and parameters also were adopted. As clearly noted by the Caroline County staff, the Board of Supervisors can modify these standards as part of a rezoning application request. Staff will conduct a town hall on data centers on Oct. 30, 2023, which will include a discussion of this zoning ordinance amendment.

On Oct. 17, 2023, the Stafford County Board of Supervisors amended the zoning ordinance to eliminate data centers as a use in all districts where they previously were permitted by right or by conditional use permit, except the M-2 District, where they are still permitted. The board also adopted a new definition and a set of development standards for data centers.

As noted in a previous McGuireWoods alert, the Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors amended the county comprehensive plan in July to make data centers a targeted industry, to prioritize data centers within the primary development boundary but also include land use policies that would allow access to public water and sewer outside the development boundaries. Since then, Spotsylvania County has received at least three rezoning requests for data center development and a fourth application that requests public utilities and other infrastructure for a proposed data center in adjoining Caroline County.

Learn more about the data center industry capabilities of McGuireWoods LLP and McGuireWoods Consulting.