Proposed legislation may threaten construction of data center near Atlanta BeltLine

Laws might be set in place to defend a future walking path, hindering data center development from the region. Proponents of the Atlanta BeltLine project, an initiative to transform an old railroad in Atlanta to a 22 mile public walking path, have hit against companies attempting to create data centers along the scenic path. Project reps have submitted legislation that – if approved – will do it difficult to construct data centers around the BeltLine.

Toe the line

The legislation, first reported by Saporta Report, made it clear the project isn’t intrigued in the data center proposals for the field saying: Statistics center uses are incompatible with the purposes and intent of the BeltLine.

If this legislation is accepted by Atlanta’s Neighborhood Planning Units, Zoning Review Board and finally the Atlanta City Council in May, it may have big implications for among the largest data center providers from the region, Facebook. The social networking and advertising giant is presently developing a $750 million data center campus that will be close enough to the BeltLine line to be impacted by future legislation. If approved, the legislation would require data centers which are 500 meters from the BeltLine to be no bigger than 300, 000 square feet, and also any data center over 150, 000 sq feet would require a permit to be built.

Facebook’s website in Staton Springs, Newton County, will consist of two data centers totaling 970, 000 square feet, making it too big for the requirements set out from the legislation. There will be other requirements for data centers to be constructed in the region, razor wire or barbed wire barriers must be illegal, the sides of buildings that face the public need to be dressed up by a wide range of methods, like artworks or changes in texture and colour, in accordance with the legislation – this is something both Google and Colt have done with their data centers, even though there are other ways to be beautiful.

In addition to this, mechanical gear for new buildings has to be located at a location least visible to the public. It has to be concealed from public right-of way or playground by appropriate fencing or plant materials. DCD reported last month that the BeltLine job was under threat due to a planned QTS data center that will overlap with the public walking route.

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