Supervisor Lawson Proposes Board Refrain from Holding Key Land-use Hearing Following Election

Believes the newly-elected board should vote on data center projects


Prince William County- Tuesday, Brentsville Supervisor Jeanine Lawson-R introduced a resolution to prevent the outgoing Prince William supervisors from making key land-use decisions following the board of supervisors election on Nov. 7. Lawson believes important land-use issues should only be scheduled after the new board's term begins on Dec. 31, 2023. 

Lawson is running on the Republican ticket to become Chair of the Board of County Supervisors. Deshundra Jefferson-D unseated the current Chair, Ann Wheeler-D, in the Democratic primary, causing an upset to the Democratic Party. Now the two women will face off against each other. 

But no matter the winner, the board will likely head in a different direction. Lawson and Jefferson both oppose the proliferation of data centers near homes, schools and national and state parks. Both candidates say they will be more deliberate and transparent in considering new data center projects than the current board. Moreover and neither are dismissive of the thousands of citizens who voice concerns over rapid data center development in the county. 

The Brentsville Supervisor believes last week's election clearly demonstrates residents disagree with the current board's direction, especially in regard to data center development.

"In the recent primary, voters expressed their strong opposition to reckless data center development pushed by Chair Wheeler and her Democrat colleagues, Supervisor Angry, Bailey, Boddye and Franklin," Lawson's office said in a press release. 

"The message conveyed by voters was clear that expediting development approvals without transparency and disregarding citizen input will bear consequences at the voting booth." 

Lawson’s staff said the resolution seeks to address public anxiety about the conduct of a lame-duck board in pushing through unpopular development projects. People are afraid their votes will mean little if Chair Wheeler decides the fate of the county.

Current board members have a stake in supporting the resolution as they are running for reelection. Approving Lawson's resolution could help convince voters they support them. 

Lawson said it is only fair to allow the people's votes to direct the county on such important decisions. 

”I strongly believe this resolution acknowledges that citizens are demanding transparent and accountable decision-making," said Supervisor Lawson “By refraining from scheduling high-profile land use public hearings during this short designated period, I believe this reprieve could help rebuild trust with citizens to ensure a fair and inclusive decision-making process. If candidates feel so strongly about these cases, then they should run on them.” 

The resolution is scheduled for an afternoon vote at July 11, 2023, at the Prince William Board of County Supervisors meeting. Meetings are held a the McCoart Building at 1 County Complex Court, Manassas, Va. Residents are encouraged to attend and share their thoughts on the resolution. The afternoon session begins at 2 p.m. 

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