BRISTOW, Va. — Virginia residents living near a proposed data center site in Bristow recently received a flyer in their mailbox supporting the controversial project. But the imagery used on the flyer is what's drawing attention, and left neighbors with a question: Does this flyer show what the data center will look like?
Bethany Kelley received the flyer shown below in the mail on Wednesday titled "Devlin Technology Park." She was drawn to the photo at the top of the flyer, portraying a building, greenery, some outdoor common space and a row of solar panels.
"I actually think it's a beautiful building," Kelley said. "I saw solar panels in the background, which was really nice. It's funny because the first thing I thought was, 'wow, that looks like a really nice college campus.'"
That's because it is Chatham University's Eden Hall campus in Richland Township, Pennsylvania. The University marketing department told WUSA9 the picture is theirs, and said they did not give permission for it to be used by any developer.
The flyer also invites Bristow residents to take a survey about the project and "how it can be improved."
"As the developer of Devlin Technology Park, Stanley Martin desires to take into consideration the concerns of those who live nearby," Stanley Martin, the land developer for the project, wrote in a statement to WUSA9. "This survey is an effort to seek out input from our neighbors. "
When asked about using a picture of Chatham University without permission, Stanley Martin's Vice President Truett Young replied that it "was included by a member of their consulting team" and that "it should not have been used." He added that it will be "removed from any future mailers."
Data center projects within Prince William County have been at the center of several meetings with hours-long debates and have become a hot-button political issue. Everything from sound levels and health issues to the impact on the environment and national landmarks has been discussed.
"The scary thing is there is no evidence yet of what this is going to do for our homes, because there is nowhere in this country that we can find this concentration of data centers that close to homes," Kelley said. "So we cannot get good evidence of what it's going to do. Anecdotally, I'm watching people move out of my neighborhood left and right."
WUSA9 can verify that what is shown on the flyer above is not what Devlin Technology Park will look like if built.