Data Center and Transmission Line Proposal in Warrenton

Amazon’s 41.8-acre Blackwell Road site alongside Routes 29 and 17 in Warrenton. Photo by Hugh Kenny/PEC

Take Action

The Warrenton Planning Commission will be holding its next work session on Tuesday, July 26 at 7 p.m.

  • Write to the Town Council and ask council members to turn down Amazon’s special use permit. If you live in Town, be sure to reach out directly to the Town Council representative who covers your Ward.
  • Speak up at “citizen’s time” at the beginning of Warrenton Town Council meetings. Town Council meetings typically occur the 2nd Tuesday of every month. Elected officials take notice of an issue when they see new faces and large numbers. During citizen’s time, local residents are allowed up to three minutes to speak to issues that are not on the agenda for the meeting. 
  • Reach out to the Fauquier County Board of Supervisors. Write to bos@fauquiercounty.gov and urge them to push back against this short-sighted project in any way they can.
  • Write to your state legislators. They can raise the issue of the subsidization of Amazon and other big tech companies with their colleagues in Richmond and will be important allies should this case head to the State Corporation Commission.

Background

In September 2021, Amazon Web Services, Inc. purchased a 41.8-acre parcel at Blackwell Road in Warrenton (behind Country Chevrolet) with the intention to build a data center. Then in late March 2022, Dominion Energy shared plans to build a new substation at the Amazon site and then bring a new 230-kV transmission line into that substation in order to serve the proposed data center. At that time, Amazon had not filed the required special use permit with the Town, in accordance with an August 2021 zoning text amendment. (Read the most recent copy of the special use permit application.)

Now, Amazon and Dominion are both moving forward with plans for the site, with an anticipated transmission routing submission to the State Corporation Commission (SCC) for fall of this year. The route options proposed by Dominion can be viewed at dominionenergy.com/blackwellroad.

aerial image of a highway with power line towers running alongside
*Image for illustrative purposes only. Actual route/tower location would be determined during a State Corporation Commission proceeding.

PEC has been closely following these developments and has a number of concerns, including a lack of transparency to the public. We submitted FOIA requests to the Town and County for correspondence related to the Amazon data center dating back to May 2020, which you can read here and here, respectively.

An overhead 230-kV transmission line to Amazon’s Blackwell Road site would have the effect of industrializing any corridor it runs through. Even an underground route depending on the location could have significant impacts such as tree removal, loss of topsoil, limitations on development within the utility right of way, cumbersome construction easements, and potential loss of property value. Any one of the transmission line routes to the proposed Amazon data center would have a detrimental impact on the gateway(s) into the Town of Warrenton, on historic and cultural resources along the route, and to the residential neighborhoods of New Baltimore, Vint Hill and/or Frytown (a historic African American community).

Learn more about the local groups we’re partnering with at protectfauquier.com and citizensforfauquier.org.

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