By David Gross
Verizon recently won approval from the Town of Somerset to build a 1 million square foot data center on Lake Ontario, about 40 miles east of Niagara Falls. But now the Buffalo News is reporting that the owner of the farm across from the proposed site is suing the town, claiming it didn't go through the appropriate environmental, planning, and zoning procedures.
There's already a 675 MW coal-fired plant next door to the proposed location, so the site is not completely pristine. And living in the midst of Northern Virginia's many data centers, I think the farm's owner, Mary Rizzo, would benefit from seeing how these facilities often sit across the street from $1 million housing developments. Hastings Drive in Ashburn, for example, is filled with cranes and construction vehicles as DuPont Fabros builds out its ACC5 project. On one side of this data center are more data centers, two owned by DuPont Fabros, one by Digital Realty, and five owned by Equinix. And on the other are expensive houses, separated by nothing more than a short construction fence and a narrow road.
I don't know how much legal merit the suit has, but if buyers of upscale DC-area homes can learn to live next to data centers, I'm sure upstate NY farmers can as well.