Bristow Beat: Chair Ann Wheeler received campaign contributions from donors related to the data center projects shortly before the Prince William County Supervisors scheduled public hearings on the Comprehensive Plan, according to VPAP.
Gainesville resident and local activist Bill Wright finds the timing suspicious and notes the Devlin Tech Park and John Marshall Commons Tech Park were placed on the Comp Plan Amendment map but not spelled out in the resolution. The question arises whether the donations pushed the supervisors in the direction of approving the projects within the comprehensive plan. It also begs the question of why the projects were never included in the resolution, making it transparent for citizens trying to interpret the document.
Let's review the timeline.
Bill Wright: The Prince William Board of County Supervisors deferred the public hearing on the Devlin Technology Park in Bristow and rescheduled it for March 7. The public hearing for John Marshall Commons Technology Park in Gainesville will likely follow shortly thereafter.
Both controversial projects had their initial public hearings deferred because of anticipated opposition. Devlin Technology Park was originally scheduled for Sept. 13 and John Marshall Commons Technology Park for Sept. 20. The Devlin Technology Park proposal was the subject of a community protest on Sept. 10.
Following the September deferrals, the county quietly changed the colors of those properties on the land use map prior to the adaptation of the “Pathway to 2040” comprehensive plan amendment.
Readers should notice the difference between the Feb. 1, 2022, and Sept. 28, 2022 versions of the county land use maps attached below. The Devlin Technology Park area changes from the gold color (zoning designation PL) consistent with the surrounding residential areas to the blue color (I-3), consistent with the nearby data center areas.
The county did not mention the Devlin Technology Park CPA (CPA2022-00015), nor the John Marshall Commons Technology Park future rezoning (REZ2021-00003) in the resolution prepared for the “Pathway to 2040” public hearing on Dec. 13.
Similarly, the John Marshall Commons area changes from a pink (mixed use) color in the February map to a blue color (I-4) consistent with the adjacent I-66 and Route 29 Technology Park in the September map. “The average citizen would never know to look for such changes,” Wright said.
At the time of the Sept. 13 deferral, Stanley Martin Vice President Truett Young said of the Devlin Tech Park, “We started hearing concerns about the noise, and we decided to better understand it”
A day prior to the Dec. 13 meeting to approve the comp plan update, Stanley Martin Co. contributed $2,498 to Chair Ann Wheeler’s campaign. (We will note there is nothing illegal about contributing to a campaign nor accepting the donation.)
(Donations from Stanley Martin Companies Inc to Ann B Wheeler (vpap.org))
Stanley Martin also donated $1,000 to Andrea Bailey's campaign on July 7, 2022, and $1,000 to Margaret Franklin's campaign on September 9, ahead of the scheduled Devlin Tech Park vote, and one day before the "Save Bristow" protest.
On the John Marshall Commons Technology Park project, the attorney representing applicant “CTP-II, LLC” stated at the time of the Sept. 20 deferral they needed more time to “gain (a) better understanding of data center issues.”
That attorney’s law firm, Compton & Duling, subsequently contributed $2,500 to Chair Wheeler’s campaign (Donations from Compton & Duling to Ann B Wheeler (vpap.org)) four days prior to the Dec. 13 BOCS meeting to approve the Comprehensive Plan update, which changed the characterization of the John Marshall Commons Technology Park parcels from mixed-use to industrial.
Both the “egregious” Village Place Technology Park (see photos below) and the John Marshall Commons Technology Park are being developed by the private equity firm Black Chamber Group (BlackChamber Group: New Name, Same Data Centers in Northern Virginia - Dgtl Infra), but were purchased under the cryptic names of CTP-I LLC and CTP-II LLC, respectively.
Much of Black Chamber Group’s data center experience in Northern Virginia has come from former executives of Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT), a publicly-traded (NYSE: OFC) real estate investment trust. COPT owns, manages, leases, and develops data center properties, particularly powered shells in Northern Virginia, where its largest data center customer is Amazon Web Services. The attachment is a non-disclosure agreement between Black Chamber Partners LLC and Prince William County Director of Economic Development Christina Winn.
This article was submitted by Gainesville resident Bill Wright. Stacy Shaw, Executive Editor and Publisher of Bristow Beat fact-checked the information and added some edits and additional information.
Bristow Beat reached out to Chair Ann Wheeler for comment but did not receive a response.
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Oh, but many if then also contributed to Lawson for votes last year.
PWC is a sesspool of corruption.
Sunday, February 19 Report this
Wow. Apparently the PW Times opinion section wasn’t an large enough platform that Mr.Wright just went ahead and interviewed himself for this hard hitting piece of “investigative journalism” as he is not only listed in the “By Line” but also quotes himself multiple times? Thanks for burying the caveat to the entire piece when you wrote, “We will note there is nothing illegal about contributing to a campaign nor accepting the donation.”
Wednesday, February 22 Report this