On January 6, 2022, Prince William Conservation Alliance in partnership with VA Sierra Club and National Parks Conservation Association hosted a panel discussion on data centers… from the Rural Crescent to the Occoquan Reservoir.
Landowners on Pageland Lane have filed a data center development proposal to create an industrial corridor through the Rural Crescent, covering more than 2,000 acres next to Manassas National Battlefield Park and Conway Robinson State Forest.
Although the plan appears to focus on data centers, it also opens the door to other industrial uses, such as warehouses, that generate truck traffic and the need for a major new road connecting I-66 with the back side of Dulles Airport (Bi-County Parkway).
This proposal offers a false choice between building data centers to boost our commercial tax base OR protecting our national parks, Rural Crescent, and drinking water supply. We can do both! Land is available in the Data Center Overlay District, which means we can build more data centers in the right spot AND protect our environmental assets.
Protecting the Rural Crescent and our national parks helps us meet climate change goals. These assets encourage tourism, create attractive, desirable communities, protect our water supply, direct infrastructure improvements to underserved areas, and safeguard high quality habitats for wildlife.
Read more on the Grow Smart Prince William County website.
Panelists highlighted how the “PW Digital Gateway” Comprehensive Plan Amendment proposal on Pageland Lane would negatively impact the drinking water supply, transportation, Manassas Battlefield National Park, Conway Robinson State Forest, and the Rural Crescent in Prince William County.
Dr. Jack Kooyoomjian, ret. US EPA and LOCCA, shares information on stormwater runoff and sedimentation, which historically is responsible for the loss of one billion gallons of water storage in the Occoquan Reservoir. Learn why retention of the Rural Crescent is a significant land-use strategy and key in protecting both our groundwater and surface drinking water supplies.
Julie Bolthouse, The Piedmont Environmental Council, discusses the land use changes being proposed, from data centers to warehouses. She explains how the proposal would impact the Rural Crescent, Manassas National Battlefield Park, and Conway Robinson State Forest, places that have irreplaceable scenic, historic, tourism, and economic value.
Stewart Schwartz, Coalition for Smarter Growth, highlights the impact of a Bi-County Parkway as part of long-controversial Outer Beltway proposals, which would impact communities from Dumfries to eastern Loudoun. By protecting the Rural Crescent the county will avoid generating thousands of additional vehicle trips, and save hundreds of millions in tax dollars for roads and other infrastructure.