AT&T has withdrawn its application for a massive building on Short Hill (click here for the story) and the Board of Supervisors voted to overrule their permit on June 23rd (click here for the story). Click here to see a short letter from the Loudoun County Preservation and Conservation Coalition’s Short Hill Committee outlining its many findings for denial.
While the Commission Permit for a massive building is now voided, work continues at the site under SPAM-2015-0028. Parsons/AT&T also applied for another site plan amendment (SPAM-2016-0067) for grading and electrical work on June 23rd. Both of these site plan amendments are based on site plan STPL-2004-0050, from a 2004 Special Exception (SPEX-2004-0029). This SPEX was for a septic system upgrade that never happened (see more recent Health Dept violations below).
Please contact every member of the Board of Supervisors individually and ask whether Loudoun County should be issuing permits based on a 12yr old site plan for work that never happened – their email addresses can be found at: www.loudoun.gov/bos-contact
If you are concerned that this project is not over, and want the Supervisors to be on high alert for new developments, please tell them that too, as well as:
Thank you Board of Supervisors for stopping history from repeating itself, so far:
Click here to sign a petition against this permit
Click here to see the one page of handwritten notes from the meeting where Parsons/AT&T convinced county planning staff to allow this project on a Commission Permit instead of a Special Exception – the most important step of this process thus far
Click here to see well permits indicating difficulty finding sufficient water
Click here to see just some of the old facility’s Health Department Violations
Check out press on this issue (most recent at the top):
Click here to view renderings of the project from Notaviva Vineyards:
Here are a concerned citizen’s public comments from the May 19, 2016 Board of Supervisors meeting:
Good evening. My name is Lindsay Mohler and I am resident of Lovettsville. I strongly oppose CMPT-2016-0001, AT&T Short Hill Mountain, and am here to ask the Board to exercise its authority to overrule the Planning Commission, either tonight or at the next business meeting, in order to protect Loudoun County’s citizens and uphold the goals and policies of the Revised Plan and county ordinances designed to protect rural Loudoun.
The Board should overrule the Commission Permit approval for many reasons only 3 of which I will have time to address tonight:
1. Data Transmission/Processing Will Be This Site’s Primary Use not Accessory Use. A data center is not a permitted use in the AR-1 zoning district. As noted by Brian Fish, Loudoun County Zoning Administration Planner, in his memo dated 12-11-2015, “the facilities proposed with this application appear to be a data center, rather than a “Telecommunication Use and/or Structure.” The facilities he is referencing which accompany this 160,000 square foot, two story building are 11 air coolers, 8 4MW diesel back up generators the size of schools buses, and 20,000 gallon cement diesel fuel storage containers. If it looks like a data, if its comprised of all the elements of a data center, if it uses electricity like a data center, it’s a data center.
2. The County has improperly classified this site’s purpose as a utility, substation transmission, however, that would require AT&T to be a utility which it is not. Utility Substation on its own does not allow for data as an accessory use. An accessory use is defined by ordinance as “A use of a building, lot, or portion thereof, which is customarily incidental and subordinate to the principal use of the building or lot.” Your packet includes email correspondence from the State Corporation Commission and Brian Smith, Manager, AT&T Office of the President confirming that AT&T does not provide telephone utility services in Loudoun County and is not the incumbent carrier in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
3. The vast negative impact on the viewshed and woefully inadequate proposed screening. In 2014, the United State Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit upheld the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors’ decision to deny the application to construct a wireless facility housed in a bell tower given the citizen’s legitimate concerns about the facility’s aesthetic impacts. If a bell tower sited at ground level in Sterling constituted a valid negative aesthetic impact, certainly, a 160,000 square foot, two story building on the ridgeline of Short Hill will have vast negative aesthetic impacts and the application should be denied!