At their April 18th meeting, the Planning Commission will discuss the addition of a definition and accommodation for data centers to the Zoning Ordinance. Such an amendment will allow for better clarity when evaluating proposed uses. This discussion is not a reflection of the Township's point of view either in favor of or against data centers, but rather to establish clearly defined stipulations around controlling the approval of data centers.
By law, local municipalities are required to allow all legal uses of property. Since it is nearly impossible to think of all potential uses of land, we – like many communities – have a “catch all” provision in the Zoning Ordinance (Sec. 325-19.B(11)(i)) that allows “any lawful use not otherwise permitted in the Township” by conditional use in the General Industrial (I-2) zoning district. A proposed data center would currently fall into this general category. However, it is possible that a developer would propose a data center, but define it as an “office building” or a “research facility” or a “business service” – uses we allow in other parts of the Township. If the Township takes the initiative to define what a data center is, we are in a better position to evaluate the impacts of the proposal and to control where it may be located, regardless of how the developer may define it.
Please note, the data center addition is one of a number of Zoning Ordinance amendments to be discussed. For more information, you may view the complete meeting agenda and packet.
Planning Commission meetings are generally held twice a month on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. If you have questions, please contact John Weller, the Director of Planning and Zoning.