March 23: Public Hearing on Wilderness Crossing

The following text was sent out via email on March 17, 2023. Sign up for PEC email alerts →

Dear Supporter,

Hello again! I am writing today to remind you that the Orange County Planning Commission’s public hearing on Wilderness Crossing (REZ 22-03) will be held next Thursday:

Thursday, March 23 @ 6 p.m.

Orange County Public Safety Building
11282 Government Center Drive
Orange, VA 22960

We encourage you to speak at the public hearing, submit written comments by 5 p.m. on March 22, and email or call your Planning Commissioner. Please urge the Planning Commission to vote against this proposal — not only is it highly speculative, oversized, and fails to address water concerns, but the property is contaminated with mercury and there is no guarantee the developer would thoroughly remediate it prior to any construction.

PEC and partners will be outside the Public Safety Building 30 minutes prior to the public hearing to hand out talking points and discuss the application. Feel welcome to join us to prepare your comments!

Largest rezoning in Orange County history?

Whether it’s a massive suburban development, a mega data center campus, or something else, Wilderness Crossing would forever change Orange County if approved — and not for the better. 

aerial of wildnerness crossing property with mine icon overlay
Drone photo by Hugh Kenny, PEC.

Unclear picture of what would be developed

The current rezoning application offers a lot of flexibility to the developer in terms of uses, including allowing commercial, residential, and industrial (data centers, car dealerships, distribution warehouses, etc.) by-right. This means the property could have a number of different possible end uses, with varying levels and types of impact on the community without any additional public hearing or proffers.

Absent knowing the true end uses ahead of time, the County cannot possibly determine the adequacy of the proffers currently offered by the developer or negotiate a better outcome for Orange residents in the future.

Further, if the rezoning is approved, there is no guarantee the developer will address concerns about the contamination from gold mining, limited water supply, increased heavy-truck traffic, costs of building a new high school (school district has said $64 million), new transmission lines and substations, noise from data centers or distribution centers, disturbances to Wilderness Battlefield National Park, or other impacts on nearby area residents. The County’s hands will be tied.

The County staff has shockingly recommended approval of the application, so it is critically important that County decisionmakers hear from you before they vote on this impactful proposal. Wilderness Crossing, quite simply, a bad deal for Orange County. Again, to share your concerns, we urge you to contact your Planning Commissioner directly and attend the Planning Commission’s public hearing in-person, next Thursday, March 23 at 6 p.m. at the Orange County Public Safety Building.

Depending on the number of speakers, your comment time could be limited to two minutes. Plan on stating your name, where you live, and your position on the application. It helps to tell a brief personal story that connects you to the issue (for example, “I remember the water restrictions of 2002…”), and/or highlight an aspect of this proposal that is particularly concerning to you (traffic, air and water pollution, higher taxes, historic resources, etc.).

We hope you will be able to attend this important meeting and make your voice heard! By filling the room and providing comment, we can show County officials we are paying attention to the issue and expect them to act in the best interest of Orange County residents.


Don McCown
Orange County Field Representative
(434) 977-2033 ext. 7047