Neighbors Worry Devlin Tech Park's 'Parkland' Proffers May Be Unenforceable

Va Supreme Court ruled jurisdictions cannot enforce proffers only tangentially related to to land use.


Letter to the Editor

We have gotten word (from Supervisor Lawson) that two of the proffers (of 85 acres) being offered by Stanley Martin concerning Devlin Technology Park are “unenforceable proffers” because they do not have a “nexus” (connection) to the project.  

#35 Public Park Dedication

#36 Parks & Recreation Monetary Contribution

Virginia law requires that proffers be “voluntary” and must have a “nexus” (connection) to the development or risk being challenged by the developer.  For example:  If a developer is building a residential community, it’s reasonable to expect them to volunteer land or financial proffers towards a school since children will live in the neighborhood.  But if a developer is building an over 55/senior community, the expectation for a proffer for a school is not reasonable because there is no “nexus” between an over 55/senior community and an impact on schools.

So the problem with the Devlin proffers for parkland and $5 million towards the development of a park is that they have no “nexus” to a data center development.  

There was a case that went before the Virginia State Supreme Court in 2022 "Virginia Supreme Court Against Albermarle" that concerned a developer saying that they did not have to honor a proffer because it did not have a “nexus” to the development. 

Two things are of note about this case: 

  1. The original developer agreed to this proffer, but then the land was sold to another developer, who challenged the proffer
  2. The Virginia Supreme Court ruled in favor of the current developer saying that they did not have to follow through with the proffer because there was no “nexus” to the development.

This is very significant when it comes to the two proffers that Stanley Martin is offering concerning parkland and a $5 million proffer for park development.  Parks have no “nexus” to data centers and Stanley Martin will not be developing the data centers on this land.  They will be selling the land to a data center developer.  Prince William County could find themselves in the same situation as Albemarle County with a new developer refusing to honor the proffers made by Stanley Martin for the parkland and $5 million.  There is a precedent set by this case that would possibly allow whoever purchases this project from Stanley Martin to take PWC to court and not have to dedicate the parkland or give the $5 million donation to the county because building parks has no connection to a data center development.  Would we then open ourselves up to even more data centers being developed on this supposed parkland?  Once again, the “carrot” that Stanley Martin is offering the communities surrounding Devlin is rotten.  

Please share this information far and wide and make sure that everyone knows that we are not falling for Stanley Martin’s tricks.  Feel free to add this information to your speeches/emails to the BOCS.

One last note, we have gotten word that there will be a rally tomorrow evening at the McCoart Building at the same time as our rally and press conference by the Baltimore/DC-Metro Building Trades Unions in support of Devlin. Considering Virginia is a “right to work” state there is no guarantee any jobs in this state will go to union workers.  

Thank you all again for all of your help and support so far.  We’re looking forward to seeing everyone this evening!

People can sign up to speak at the BOCS Public Hearing regarding The Devlin Technology Park this evening at the McCoart Building. sheet will be available for signatures starting at 7 p.m. this evening and it should remain open as long as people are speaking at the hearing.

The hearing could possibly go late into the night, depending upon the turnout. 

Notes: The proffers are supposed to come from the "applicant" but only after the land bay is planned. At that point, a new developer may be in charge of the project.

Additionally, some of the parkland may be needed for an easement. An easement may be needed for road access, electrical lines or substations. 

Devlin Tech Park, proffers, Parkland, data center, Prince William County, Bristow, Devlin Road, public hearing