Loudoun County Streamlines Data Center Development Process

Loudoun County Virginia, long considered a top choice for the world’s technology companies as a prime location for data centers, has become even more accessible and open to new business opportunities thanks to legislation passed by the county’s Board of Supervisors. The new legislation is designed to streamline the development process and paves the way for growth in the data center market.

This month the board approved the Data Center Zoning Ordinance Amendment. The major benefits include adding data centers as a permitted use to these zoning districts: Commercial Light Industry, Planned Development – Office Park, Planned Development – Research and Development Park, Planned Development – Industrial Park, and Planned Development – General Industry. This amendment also increases building height allowance and the Floor-to-Area Ratio in the PD-IP zoning district, and adds a special exception for increased FAR in the PD-GI zoning district. The amendment is effective immediately.

“The approval of the zoning amendment will reduce the time and cost to build data centers in Loudoun County,” said Loudoun Economic Development Director Buddy Rizer. “We’ve made it better – and even easier – for companies to operate in the largest data center hub in America.”

The zoning amendment was the result of a process that included stakeholders from the industry, residents, and the board-appointed Zoning Ordinance Action Group.

“Quite simply, this is an example of good government,” said Jonathan Sharp, VP of marketing at Latisys and Co-Chair of the Northern Virginia Technology Council’s Data Center and Cloud Infrastructure Committee. “The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors sought feedback and guidance from constituents and from experts – resulting in an amendment that helps to preserve Loudoun’s place as the nation’s leading destination for data centers while balancing the concerns of the community.”

“Data Center Alley” is home to more than 50 data centers, and has more than a million square feet of additional data center space slated for construction by the end of fiscal year 2015. “Data centers are a key industry for Loudoun, adding more than $50 million in revenue to the county every year,” Rizer explained. “It only made sense for us to make it as seamless as possible for data centers to do business in Loudoun.”

Loudoun’s data center industry has praised the zoning changes. “Congratulations to the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors for putting in place zoning regulations that encourage smart business while protecting the needs of the community,” said Jim Leach, VP of marketing at RagingWire Data Centers, a leading data center colocation provider in Ashburn, Virginia. “RagingWire was drawn to Loudoun County by the pro-business climate and support of the Loudoun Board of Supervisors and Department of Economic Development.”

“As one of the speakers affiliated with existing data center operations in the county, I applaud the board’s decision to approve the ZOAM which maintains Loudoun County’s data center-friendly stance while ensuring that the communities around data centers experience minimal impact from their operations,” added Mike Clemson, senior director of global facilities for Loudoun-based Carpathia.

Loudoun is the data center home for all the major technology companies, including Facebook, Amazon, Google and Microsoft. More than 70 percent of the world’s Internet traffic flows through Loudoun data centers every day.

For more information about locating or expanding a business in Loudoun, call Economic Development at 1-(800)-LOUDOUN or go to biz.loudoun.gov.

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