Chandler greenlights new mixed-use project and adopts data center zoning amendment

Chandler greenlights new mixed-use project and adopts data center zoning amendment

Article Originally Posted by PhoenixBusinessJournal on December 5, 2022

Chandler City Council approved ordinances Monday for a new provisions on data center development and a new downtown mixed-use development.

Council unanimously voted to collectively approve adoption of a zoning code amendment for the location and operation of data centers and a rezoning and preliminary development plan for The District Downtown on its consent agenda, which included other ordinances.

No discussion took place before the vote.

The data center ordinance was first heard by Council at its Nov. 10 meeting. Council members tabled the ordinance after Cameron Carter, an attorney with Rose Law Group, said the ordinance as drafted is ambiguous and that its requirements could impair a property owner's rights to develop on their property.

The language for the zoning code had been adjusted, namely the sign-posting requirements and identifying where the required sound study noise-measuring equipment needs to be located, according to Council's public notification.

The ordinance stated, among other provisions:

  • Data centers are not permitted to operate in the city of Chandler unless explicitly approved as part of a planned area development zoning district.

  •  Data centers that are ancillary to another primary use at the property would be permitted under special circumstances.

  • The operator or property owner of a planned data center must notify residents within a half-mile radius of the parcel the intention to build a data center.

  • The data center operator must schedule and attend two neighborhood meetings with residents to discuss proposed sound-mitigation aspects of the project design.

  • The data center must be designed and built to incorporate sound mitigation methods sufficient to prevent the sound levels emanating from the site.

Data center developers and tenants have been attracted to the Phoenix market due to tax incentives, a lack of natural disasters, low latency, lower utility rates, and a stable power grid, according to experts. Research from JLL said that new data center supply will be impeded by the availability of land and power in many major markets, which could drive expansion outside of traditional hubs.

As of June, the Phoenix metro has about 544 existing megawatts of power across 6.3 million square feet of space with only 23.9 megawatts vacant. It was second in the country, behind northern Virginia, with 278 megawatts under development compared to zero megawatts under construction in the first half of 2021, according to previous reporting.