Fairfax County Planning Commission Recommends Data Center Zoning Changes

June 11, 2024

On June 6, 2024, the Fairfax County, Virginia Planning Commission recommended approval of zoning ordinance amendments that will create new restrictions for data centers. The proposed ordinance will permit by-right data center development in certain districts. However, in practice, the amendments will require a special exception approved by the Board of Supervisors for almost all data centers within the county. The amendments will also impose new restrictions related to design, setbacks from residential uses, noise and environmental concerns.

At the hearing, the planning commission rejected a proposal to grandfather pending data center applications in the existing zoning ordinance. It instead recommended that all pending applications be required to meet the proposed amendments. The planning commission further recommended revisions to the staff proposal to increase buffers from residential districts for cooling, ventilating or power supply equipment, and to further restrict data centers within 1 mile from Metro stations.

The proposed zoning amendment text is available here. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is expected to hold a public hearing on the amendments on July 16, 2024. Additional background on the proposed amendments is available here: May 2024, March 2024, January 2024, October 2023, July 2023, and May 2023

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