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Noise complaint over crypto mining business led City to buy new equipment

Posted at 7:19 PM, Jul 26, 2019

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — It's the noise complaint that prompted city code enforcement, now called Neighborhood Services, to buy new equipment to better investigate suspected violations. Homeowners in the Chelsea Glen neighborhood said the volume of the sound coming from a new crypto mining business was so loud they couldn't carry on a conversation outdoors.

"We couldn't talk out here and hear each other speak clearly," said Ron Graham-Becker.

He and his wife bought their home in 1997. A small open space buffers the cul-de-sac on Chutney Ct. from the old Intel computer chip manufacturing plant. Crypto mining business 3G Ventures, LLC bought part of that building last June. Graham-Becker believes the source of the noise is a series of industrial exhaust fans installed on the building to cool down the computer servers inside.

"The biggest complaint from myself and from neighbors was that we couldn't go outside without our heads being drilled with this noise," he said.

In March, Graham-Becker began taking measurements with a decibel meter and kept track of his readings in a spreadsheet. He shared that data with City Councilman Don Knight and included it in a code enforcement complaint.

Graham-Becker said the business owner initially built a sound dampening structure around the building, but had to take it down due to a lack of proper permitting. Earlier this summer, he stacked up a wall of shipping containers around the building to better restrict the noise from traveling into the neighborhood.

"It's an improvement, but only in the last, I would say, in the last month," Graham-Becker said.

The business is located in an industrial zoned area. Neighborhood Services Manager Mitch Hammes explained earlier this week that when a business is located in close proximity to a residential area, the lower residential noise threshold of 55 decibels applies.

Hammes showed us his set up for measuring noise complaints on Wednesday. He uses a decibel meter, like Graham-Becker. However, he also makes a video recording of the measurements. The camera angle is framed up so that it includes a timer and a monitor from a wind-speed meter.

Hammes said the system was designed after consulting with the City Attorney's Office about what sort of evidence they would need to bring a noise complaint to court.

Graham-Becker has met with the owner of 3G Ventures on multiple occasions and believes that he is genuinely concerned about the well being of the residents of Chutney Court. However, he wishes the planning department would've done a more thorough job of evaluating the business.

"Why couldn't they look at what is your plan, what problems could be potential, how are you going to address those issues."

The code enforcement complaint is expected to go to municipal court next week.