Sound barrier could help lessen noise problems from major Bitcoin facility in VB

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — For residents in the Point of View neighborhood of Virginia Beach, the peaceful enjoyment of their homes has been shattered by a constant hum. 

That hum is coming from a Bitcoin building in Virginia Beach, and nearby residents say they can’t stand it.  Residents called 10 On Your Side, upset with the constant noise from the rooftop exhaust fans from thousands of small computers inside the Bcause LLC building on Greenwich Road.

10 On Your Side met with Bcause founder Tom Flake and reminded him the neighbors don’t like the noise coming from up on his roof.

“Yes, I am aware of that. I think it is a reasonable expectation that people be able to enjoy their property,” Flake said. 

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: One of world’s largest bitcoin facilities is too loud, VB neighbors say

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Noisy cryptocurrency facility in VB is only expected to get louder for neighbors

Flake founded Bcause, which is now one of the top five cryptocurrency mining operations in the world. 

It is also a company the business community points to as an example of diversifying the area’s economy.

There are 16,000 small computers at the building that record cryptocurrency transactions, and those computers generate heat that is sucked out of the building through industrial sized exhaust fans.  You can feel the heat coming out of the exhaust fans.

Flake is preparing to double that number of computers to 33,000. More fans? Yes. 

10 On Your Side asked Flake if that’s going to create more noise.  “It will create more noise, but it is spread over a considerable distance, so it is not as added to as it might sound,” he said.

Nearby residents aren’t buying that.  Neighbor Trudy Byrns hears it all the time, and everyday when she is in her yard, and even when she is in her home.

“This is my new way of life when I’m outside working because I can not tolerate the noise. This is how I live outside,” she said while holding ear plugs in her hand. 

Flake was watching that report on August 15. “I noticed that in your first piece that she was wearing earplugs, but here we are 100 yards closer to the noise than from her home … and on a rooftop right next to the fans, and we are having a conversation without wearing earplugs.”  

“That may have been played a little bit for drama, but I’m not discounting the concerns that they have.” 

10 On Your Side reminded Flake says she needs them to feel comfortable in her yard.  Flake responded quickly, “then she has to do that to feel comfortable in her yard.”

10 On Your Side interviewed Virginia Beach Zoning Administrator Kevin Kemp, who confirms Flake is completely in compliance with the zoning code on noise and could not be taken to court.  “I appreciate that about zoning, and it is true, but what we are trying to do is be good neighbor which we think is a higher standard.”

A higher standard.  Flake says he wants to do the right thing.  “It is our intention to build a fence on that back property line.” 

It’s set to be a sound wall like one along the interstate, but how high? How much will it cost? And when exactly will it go up? Flake doesn’t have details. 

However, Flake thinks it is possible a wall could be up as soon as October or November. 

There are utility lines in the back which would have to be considered by Dominion Energy.  October and November is the estimated time when the additional 17,000 computers will be put online, bringing the total to about 33,000. 

The wall would be put up after the full expansion is complete, making sure whatever is put up successfully cuts down or eliminates the noise in the neighborhood.

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