Testimony: Brightseat Tech Park (Prince George’s, Support)

Mr. Peter Shapiro, Chair
Prince George’s County Planning Board, M-NCPPC
1616 McCormick Drive, Largo MD
Via: pgcpb@mncppc.org

Dear Chair Shapiro and members of the Board: 

Please accept this testimony on behalf of the Coalition for Smarter Growth (CSG), the leading organization advocating for walkable, bikeable, inclusive, transit-oriented communities as the most sustainable and equitable way for the Washington, DC region to grow and provide opportunities for all. We also support and work closely with RISE Prince George’s, a group of county residents and allies advocating for policies and practices that build shared, sustainable prosperity in Prince George’s County by creating safe, walkable, inclusive and transit-oriented communities.

We wish to express our support for the proposed project, to convert this long-vacant grayfield into a data center. We recognize that this is an economic benefit to the country, and also reuses a space that most view as an eyesore. The 86-acre inside-the-beltway property formerly hosted the large regional Landover Mall, but this was razed about 17 years ago. The property has sat vacant since then. It is located contiguous to the west side of I-95/495 (Capital Beltway), and on the north side of MD 202 (Landover Road) at its intersection with Brightseat Road. 

Data centers are a rapidly growing land use, and can often have negative impacts on adjacent neighborhoods and rural areas. In this case, we view this site as a suitable location. We see these benefits:

  • Use of existing urban services, road networks, and even some transit, while not occupying important land near a Metro station.
  • Reduced environmental impact by using existing impervious surface and retrofitting modern stormwater management, and reusing existing infrastructure rather than requiring new infrastructure.
  • Reuse of a long vacant grayfield site that needs redevelopment.
  • Employment
  • Commercial tax revenues
  • Proximity to a major urban market at a time when most data centers are scattered to distant locations generating higher amounts of travel for workers and suppliers – thus this location lowers vehicle miles traveled.
  • Two parks and walk/bike improvements. 

Building design

We request that further consideration be given to mitigating the massing of buildings on MD 202 by potentially adding small frontage retail to serve workers and nearby residents. The project could include pedestrian friendly frontage on MD 202 to support more walk/bike connectivity between the site and land uses on the east side of I-495. 


For the road-related projects, we ask that travel lanes be minimized to slow vehicle traffic to safe, moderate speeds of 25 MPH. Overly wide roads – four lanes where two lanes are sufficient – and sweeping turning radii, and wide crossing distances, unnecessarily increase risk for all road users, especially people walking and biking. Therefore, for roadways designated for four (4) travel lanes in the Master Plan, but where traffic volumes do not justify this capacity, the unused travel lane right of way should be reserved and used for walk, bicycle facilities or environmental space. 

Intersection designs should ensure safety for people walking and bicycling even for truck and bus routes. This means small turning radii and narrower crossing distances to slow vehicles and reduce exposure of vulnerable users to vehicles traveling at higher speeds. Measures such as recessed stop lines can allow for larger trucks to make turns with small turning radii.

Bus service improvements should be provided for the site to connect to surrounding areas and nearby Metro stations in order to facilitate residents’ access to jobs at the site.

Energy use

Data centers consume significant energy and strain the power grid, requiring upgrades. Too often this results in costs being passed onto all ratepayers. We ask that the county work with the applicant to ensure that county ratepayers do not bear the cost of any needed upgrades to the power infrastructure. We also ask that the county work to find more sustainable, less polluting sources of energy, and encourage more energy-efficient, less consumptive practices. We recognize this is an industry-wide problem, but Prince George’s could help lead changes to a more efficient, less polluting industry. 


Again we want to express our support for this proposal as an appropriate reuse of a long vacant site that offers many local benefits. The proposed data center offers important environmental benefits by locating this rapidly growing land use at a site with existing impervious surface near the center of the region and connected to existing regional transportation networks and power infrastructure. 

Thank you for your consideration. 


Cheryl Cort
Policy Director