VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia Beach has a new noisy neighbor, and it is a high tech company with global recognition.
Bcause is one of the top five cryptocurrency mining operations in the world.
Neighbors to the plant on Greenwich Road say the industrial sized exhaust fans on the roof are disturbing the peace with a constant hum that can be heard 24-7.
The question is: can anything be done about the noise?
10 On Your Side met with five neighbors from the Point-of-View neighborhood along Princess Anne Road, and they are right, there is a noise that is constantly heard.
You can hear it a quarter of a mile away, all the time.
“It doesn’t violate anything in our zoning ordinance, and there is nothing we can do to hold up their approval,” said Virginia Beach Zoning Administrator Kevin Kemp. “It is zoned properly, no code violations, and we couldn’t take them to court.”
To that, neighbor Tommy Byrns says, “What about our rights? What about us? We are the people who have to live with this. We were here a long time before they were here.”
Bcause’s business is 16,000 little computers that record cryptocurrency transactions. It is loud and hot in the operating warehouse.
The noise neighbors hear comes from the 90 large industrial exhaust fans that get the heat out of the building.
Kemp gets what the neighbors are concerned about, “I think the noise is a concern, and impacts the enjoyment of the neighboring properties.”
Kemp admits the level of noise took him by surprise, “But we are working with consultants to do a preliminary study considering where this type of business has been done before, and figure out what is the best route.”
Bcause founder Tom Flake says he wants to be a good neighbor, and is working with the city.
“Our belief is one way to mitigate the sound is put up a sound barrier similar to what you see on the highway. That’s what we plan to do,” Flake said.
Flake doesn’t know when that will happen, or how much it will cost.
What troubles the neighbors is that Flake wants to double the number of the computers from 16,000 to 33,000.
Kemp admits that will likely increase the sound neighbors hear, “It will probably increase the noise, yes. I have been to the site, and it is slightly louder when there were only 10,000 computers.”
Kemp confirms Flake would be allowed legally under zoning code to double the number of computers.
That angers neighbors, who say, “no way!” Neighbor Phyllis Moore said, “I would like them, before they add to the problem, to fix the existing problem.”
Trudy Byrns adds, “Put the wall up before the new computers go in.”