Buddy Secor

American Battlefield Trust Disappointed with Approval of Amazon Data Centers in Historic Stevensburg

By single-vote margin, county approved data center proposal that will transform bucolic, rural landscape adjacent to historic Hansbrough Ridge and Salubria

Jim Campi, (202) 277-8560
Mary Koik, (202) 558-8971

Update June 2024: Culpeper Battlefields State Park is now open! For more information about its dedication on June 8, 2024, park accessibility and public recreational use, ongoing Trust involvement and preservation news and history, visit our Culpeper Battlefields State Park page.

(Culpeper, Va.) — The American Battlefield Trust has issued the following statement in the wake of an April 5 vote by the Culpeper County Board of Supervisors, approving proposed data centers sought by Marvell Developments, LLC, a subsidiary of Amazon Data Services, Inc.:  

“The American Battlefield Trust has a long history of working with Culpeper County to preserve historic battlefield land, including picturesque Hansbrough Ridge, a Virginia State Landmark. We remain concerned about the spot rezoning of the Magnolia Equestrian Center for use as an Amazon data center site, covering some 430,000 square feet — twice the footprint of a typical Walmart Supercenter. 

“The land in question is associated with the June 9, 1863, Battle of Brandy Station, the largest cavalry engagement ever fought in the Western Hemisphere. Hansbrough Ridge played an important role in the battle and is considered the largest concentration of untouched Civil War encampment features in the U.S. The development of data centers on the parcel in question would most definitely alter the historic landscape and diminish this valuable viewshed. 

“Spot-zoning this property from agricultural to light industrial is inconsistent with the broader intent of the Culpeper County Comprehensive Plan and its stated goal of preserving agricultural and natural landscapes in this part of the county. Moreover, the Comprehensive Plan sets aside other parts of the county more appropriate for light industrial development like data centers. Public comment, both during discussions about the Comprehensive Plan as well as debate over the Amazon Data Centers, clearly supported keeping this area as agricultural, open space. 

“The citizens of Culpeper County and the Trust have made significant investment in preserving historic properties — not just to protect the historic and rural character of Culpeper County, but also to buttress heritage tourism as an important component of the local economy. This spot-zoning will have a detrimental impact on the tourism potential of the area.” 

The American Battlefield Trust is dedicated to preserving America’s hallowed battlegrounds and educating the public about what happened there and why it matters today. The nonprofit, nonpartisan organization has protected more than 54,000 acres associated with the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and Civil War. Learn more at www.battlefields.org