Bitcoin mining operation shipping containers tumble in high winds


Remember the saga of the noisy neighbor up in the northwest part of the city? Things are still in turmoil, it seems.

We wrote about the bitcoin mining operation taking place in a building on Garden of the Gods Road last May, and again in July when the operator, 3G Venture, was having trouble complying with the city’s noise ordinance, and again in August when the city decided not to cite the operator.

Now, the complaint — in addition to continued noise that a neighbor, Ron Graham Becker, says violates the city’s noise ordinance — centers on potential danger from stacking shipping containers against the building to buffer the sound.

Some of those containers, stacked four high, came tumbling down in high winds on Nov. 29 and 30, as shown in this photo provided by Graham Becker.

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Says Graham Becker in an email to officials with the city, Fire Department and Pikes Peak Regional Building Department: “As you may know, a wall of shipping containers came crashing down at Bldg 1625 — 3G Venture II — during the high winds of this past Friday and Saturday, 29 & 30 November, 2019. Fortunately, as far as I know, no one was killed or injured. Very fortunate, indeed.”

Here’s another photo supplied by Graham Becker.

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Graham Becker reports that he reported the incident to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which has filed an informal complaint against 3G, whose owner, John Chen, must file a response within five days.

His complaint, he says, states that “Approximately 10 employees exposed to ‘struck-by hazards’ in that shipping containers, used to isolate noise, are resting on uneven surfaces, stacked up to 40 feet high, and leaning precariously toward occupied areas. Contrary to Section 5(a)(1) of the OSH Act of 1970.”

In response to Graham Becker’s email, Colorado Springs Fire Department Fire Marshal Brett Lacy says the issue falls outside his purview.

We asked Regional Building about it, and got this response from RBD spokesperson Greg Degrindo, via email: “RBD would not be involved because the Building Code does not address, or regulate placement of shipping containers. A building permit is not required to stack shipping containers.”

The Indy also asked the city to comment, leading to this statement from the city communications office:

The City of Colorado Springs Planning Department and Code Enforcement divisions have been in communication with the owner of 3G Venture II for the past several months. City employees made the owner aware approximately one month ago that a development plan must be submitted to our Land Use Review division by Wednesday, December 4th. This development plan should address the owner’s intent for noise mitigation, including plans to ensure safety on and around the property. If the city does not receive the development plan by December 4th, Code Enforcement can issue a summons.

Chen tells the Indy he restacked the containers within a day or so, and “Everything is back to where it was.”

But Chen says he’s getting just as tired of the complaints as the complainers are getting of making those complaints.

“At some point I think it’s becoming — I don’t know how to put it. Everyone is entitled to their thinking, it’s becoming harassment,” he tells the Indy by phone. “At some point, it’s beyond reasonable.”

Chen asserts the bitcoin operation complies with the city’s noise ordinance, and it’s cost him a bundle to achieve that, but the complaints continue.

“I’m doing everything I can to comply with everything. Every little thing they’re calling everyone in the world,” he says. “I think there has to be some reasonableness in the whole thing.”

Meantime, we asked how his bitcoin mining operation is going, and Chen reports it’s been successful.