Plans progress for Brainerd city crypto sound study – Brainerd Dispatch

BRAINERD — Brainerd city staff has a list of items they will gather before the City Council takes any action on a permit for a cryptocurrency mining facility in the industrial park.

Community Development Director James Kramvik told the City Council Monday, June 3, of the documentation he plans to get after council members delayed a vote on a permit for the facility due to noise concerns from neighbors.

In May,

the council voted to extend the time required

to respond to an interim use permit application from VCV Digital Infrastructure by 60 days to study the noise impacts the facility might have on the community. That decision came after several residents who live around the industrial park

brought concerns to the Planning Commission

about the noise of the facility disturbing their homes. The council now has until July 30 to act on the permit request. If they do not do so, the permit would automatically be granted.

The permit would allow VCV to construct 26 containers that house data machines and cooling towers that are 40 feet in length, and plans include an 8-foot-tall chain link fence with privacy slats and barbed wire around the property. The operation would use immersion technology, meaning the mining machines are submerged in oil, and the only noise comes from cooling fans.

Kramvik proposed bringing back to the council a report from VCV detailing expected decibel levels based on distance and time of year. VCV representatives previously said the only times all the fans would be running at the same time would be for very hot days in the summer. He’d also request VCV to outline their method for potentially hazardous material disposal when getting rid of the oil used in the immersion technology.

Also on Kramvik’s list are case studies from other cities that have crypto mining facilities, preferably ones with immersion technology, and a decibel reading from the Just for Krypto mining facility to the north of the proposed VCV operation. The Just For Krypto business does not require the same permit for outdoor storage as a primary structure that VCV must obtain. Kramvik said there is a principal structure on the Just For Krypto property, meaning outdoor storage is not the principal land use.

Lastly, Kramvik said he would find a YouTube video to illustrate the sound difference between open air mining and immersion mining.

Council member Kara Terry requested additional information as well. The Economic Development Authority plans to review a revised purchase and development agreement with VCV during its meeting Thursday, June 6, as the original agreement signed in 2022 required VCV to commence construction within 120 days of the issuance, which did not happen. The revised permit would extend that deadline to April 2025. Documents included in the EDA’s meeting packet this week state VCV plans to transfer its outstanding membership interests to a holding company called Ancheng. Terry said she would like to know if that move would mean VCV is no longer the property owner and how that might affect the city’s proceedings.

Council member Gabe Johnson said he would vote against Kramvik’s list of documentation, as he voted against the initial time extension at the last meeting. He said last month there really is no way to know exactly how loud the facility will be until it is there, suggesting granting the permit with an end date on it, allowing the council to revisit the issue if there are problems.

“I still oppose it. I think we should have issued the permit last time,” he said Monday. “I think we’re wasting many fine people’s time with delaying this when I would bet money that we’re just going to issue the permit anyway.”

The motion agreed to Kramvik’s list of documentation, which he plans to bring back at one of the next two council meetings, passed 5-2, with Johnson and council member Kevin Stunek opposed.

At the end of Monday’s meeting during the public forum, when members of the public are allowed to speak on issues that were not on the agenda, Glynis Thiesse had words of thanks for the council. Thiesse lives near the industrial park and was one of the residents with concerns on the crypto mining project, though she did not mention the specific project when addressing the council during the public forum.

“Thank you for the work that you do, for interacting with me, for responding to me,” Thiesse said. “It shows empathy, which is very important because even though it seems like a waste of time, it is very important to us.”

Johnson responded with: “This was on the agenda, Kelly,” notifying Council President Kelly Bevans of the item’s placement on the agenda, therefore prohibiting its mention during the forum.

Thiesse said her topic was not on the agenda, that it was just her time to say thank you to the council. Bevans said he would allow it, unless Johnson wanted to move that it was out of order, which he did not.

Thiesse went on to commend the council on the city’s comprehensive plan, which she said she was recently reading through.

“I like what’s written in addition to the goals — the reasoning behind it, the community focus. So thank you for that,” Thiesse said.

THERESA BOURKE may be reached at

[email protected]

or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at


Theresa Bourke started working at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and area education, including Brainerd Public Schools and Central Lakes College.

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