Two plots of land totaling 35.71 acres, adjacent to Dell, were approved for rezoning to a planned unit development, or PUD, from commercial C-1 by the council in a unanimous vote. The PUD zoning was recommended by the Round Rock Planning and Zoning Commission, Planning and Development Services Director Brad Wiseman said, because the city does not have a zoning designation for data centers.
"This just makes it clear that the use would be allowed on the property, basically creating a customized zoning district to allow for the data center," Wiseman said at the council's packet meeting July 20.
The two plots are on either side of an existing Dell facility, according to planning materials from the meeting packet. These plans also show that the facility would have a height not to exceed 80 feet and perimeter or screening walls no taller than 20 feet. These masonry fences will be required to provide a finished face to public rights of way and adjacent properties without obstructing visibility at street intersections.
Wiseman said data centers, like the one Switch is planning to build, do not typically bring much increased traffic.
"It's probably the lowest traffic generator you could even have in development," Wiseman said. "Storage would probably be a lower traffic generator."
Wiseman said the company is looking to break ground sooner rather than later.
"They're very anxious to get started ... within a couple of months, as fast as they can address the staff review comments on the site plan," Wiseman said. "So say late summer, early fall before football and construction. This project did not ask for any incentives, either."
Wiseman said a public hearing was held by the planning and zoning commission, but no one signed up to speak. However, there were two speakers at the City Council's public hearing during its meeting. One of them was Richard Parson, president of the Kensington Neighborhood Association, who very briefly stated that the association appreciated efforts from Switch representation to meet with them and talk about how the development might impact their community. The other speaker was from Switch.
Switch Vice President Robert Elliott spoke in praise of the city departments that have assisted with the company's efforts to build its next data center in Round Rock.
"This is the next evolution of our company, Switch," Elliott said. "We've been around since, for 22 years, since 2000, and we have grown consistently as data has grown across the country. This is our fifth campus that we're building, and we're just super excited to get started, to be a part of the technology economy here in Round Rock."