Virginia's Fauquier County has approved zoning changes for Vint Hill that will limit data centers.

The zoning changes relate to Vint Hill's "planned commercial and industrial district" and will require any buildings or assemblages of buildings of more than 50,000 sq ft (4,645 sqm) to apply for and receive a special exemption permit from the Board of Supervisors.

Vint Hill Fauquier Virginia Thomas & Co. Realty Advisors and North American Data Centers.png
A previous data center proposal for Vint Hill – Thomas & Co. Realty Advisors & North American Data Centers

The board will closely review plans for building screening, setbacks, height, and compatibility with the community, and will allow the public to comment.

It has, in effect, removed the ability to build "by right" as was previously within the zoning code.

The county's Board of Supervisors approved the changes on March 15, though they won't impact the two data center projects currently underway at Vint Hill. These include a planned four-building data center campus by CyrusOne on Vint Hill Parkway, and a data center expansion for an OVHcloud facility.

The board voted 3-2 in favor, though those in opposition argued that the Vint Hill landowners should have more input.

Supervisor Ike Broaddus voted in favor of the change, noting that it is “vitally important to ensure that we stay one step ahead of this rapidly evolving data center industry.” Broaddus added that the CyrusOne project already underway is planning data centers that are only 45 feet in height which is less than many other facilities and that OVH has "proven itself to be a quiet neighbor."

However, Vint Hill Conservancy president Chris Zumot said: "This is an abomination that will only deter businesses from coming to Vint Hill.” Zumot argued that the association already reviews the compatibility of data center developments but that this additional hurdle will prevent applications from being made.

Virginia has the world's largest data center market. However, several counties across the state are considering bills that could curb new data center developments including Loudoun and Prince William counties.