After noise complaints, Tennessee judge rules that a bitcoin mine violates zoning laws

Quick Take

  • A judge ruled that a bitcoin mining facility in Tennessee was in violation of zoning laws.
  • Local residents have been at odds with the miner for months, complaining of loud noise coming from the machines.

A bitcoin miner in Tennessee that has been in conflict with residents and local officials over noise complaints lost a battle in court on Tuesday.

A judge found that the mining operation, run by Red Dog Technologies, violates zoning rules, according to News Channel 11. A request for appeal, however, was granted.

The attorney for the company argued in court that Red Dog provided a public utility-type service, but ultimately the judge decided that bitcoin mining did not fall under this category.

“Instead of providing facilities that facilitate the transmission of data… they are a user,” said Chancellor John Rambo, according to News Channel 11.

Red Dog technologies leased facilities from power company BrightRidge, also named in the lawsuit filed by Washington County, Tennessee, in November of last year.

In February 2020, BrightRidge was granted a rezoning permit to move from “General Agriculture District” to “Agriculture Business District.” The petition called for “expanding Bright Ridge’s use on the property” and said “the immediate request is to allow for a blockchain data center,” according to minutes from the meeting.

It also stated: “While there are small fans on the data centers that generate noise, the petitioner has advised that the noise is considered small and will not impact or be heard from adjoining properties.”

An attorney representing Red Dog declined to comment on the case and the attorneys for the other two parties did not respond in time for publication.

Neighbors complain of noise


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Another lawsuit against Red Dog Technologies was filed by a resident in August of last year. For months, people living close to the mining center have complained about the noise levels stemming from the fans cooling the hardware required for mining.

During a meeting that month, a representative of Red Dog told Washington County commissioners the company was looking for ways to reduce noise, which could have a “noticeable” impact.

“I realize there's business, there’s money at risk and stuff like this, but quality of life is much more important than money,” said commissioned Bryan Davenport during the meeting.

Another commissioner, Freddie Malone, suggested until a permanent solution was found, the company should refrain from mining at night.

“This would give the residents some rest from the noise during the evening hours when they’re at home,” he said. “Even if it required an investment on Red Dog’s part to pay more for electrical and run it during the day.”

The Block reached out to Washington County planning director Angie Charles but has not heard back.

Bitcoin mining has expanded in the US over the past months, taking over as the number one nation in the ecosystem, after China cracked down on miners last year. Some operations have taken over old factories and power plants across the country.

© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

About Author

Catarina is a reporter for The Block based in New York City. Before joining the team, she covered local news at and at the New York Daily News. She started her career in Lisbon, Portugal, where she worked for publications such as Público and Sábado. She graduated from NYU with a MA in Journalism. Feel free to email any comments or tips to [email protected] or to reach out on Twitter (@catarinalsm).