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Illinois City Approves New Regs for Cryptocurrency Mines and Data Centers

The Effingham City Council unanimously approved an amendment to the city’s zoning ordinance to regulate cryptocurrency mines and data centers, including their noise generation and physical locations.

In preparation for the potential development of cryptocurrency mines and data centers in Effingham, Ill., the city is taking steps to ensure that such uses of city property don't negatively impact residents.

The Effingham City Council Tuesday unanimously approved an amendment to the city's zoning ordinance to include definitions and regulations for cryptocurrency mines and data centers.

The Effingham Plan Commission recommended the approval of the amendment during its meeting Tuesday, March 12, after some city officials expressed concerns regarding the city's lack of regulations for data centers and cryptocurrency mines which often consume large quantities of energy and water to operate and cool equipment.

Effingham Public Works Director Greg Koester said Tuesday that a public hearing regarding the new regulations had already been held.

"It provides definitions for cryptocurrency mine, cryptocurrency mining, data mining, data center, high-density load and establishes some regulations on where these particular uses can be and then some requirements that they need to abide by to be located in that area," Koester said Tuesday. "It does require a site plan and a special use."

The amendment also addresses concerns regarding the noise that is sometimes created by these centers and mines, particularly the fans that are sometimes used to cool them.

"If it's going to be within 1,500 feet of a residential dwelling, it requires them to do a noise analysis," Koester said.

Additionally, no data centers or cryptocurrency mines can be operated within 100 feet of any residential districts under the amendment.

The website says "Mining is the process that Bitcoin and several other cryptocurrencies use to generate new coins and verify new transactions. It involves vast, decentralized networks of computers around the world that verify and secure blockchains — the virtual ledgers that document cryptocurrency transactions. In return for contributing their processing power, computers on the network are rewarded with new coins."

Anyone attempting to establish a data center or cryptocurrency mine within the city will also now be required to obtain a report from the electric utility company they will be using to supply them with energy to ensure that the grid these centers or mines are connected to have "adequate capacity" to handle their high electrical use.

"These, in other areas, typically show up with a solar energy system with them, so a data center with a solar energy system would actually require two special use permits," Koester said.

In other matters, the council:

—Approved an ordinance vacating three feet of 10 feet of a utility easement to allow for the construction of an accessory building at 903 Park Hills Drive.

—Approved a resolution authorizing the execution of a proposal for professional engineering services with Civil Design, Inc. for water main replacements for the 2025 fiscal year in the amount of $105,000.

—Approved a resolution authorizing an additional service agreement with Civil Design, Inc. for a change order in the amount of $22,000 for additional services needed for the construction of Merchant Street from Eden Drive to Evergreen Avenue.

—Approved a resolution authorizing the execution of a proposal in the amount of $36,000 for engineering services with Civil Design, Inc. for the second phase of the Merchant Street Reconstruction Project which includes the section of Merchant Street from Flamingo to West Evergreen Avenues.

—Approved a change order from 3 Sisters Logistics in the amount of $2,103 for street maintenance aggregate stockpiling for 2023.

—Approved a certificate of project completion and release of bonding for street maintenance aggregate stockpiling for 2023 which was completed by 3 Sisters Logistics for a total of $41,856.

—Approved quotes for water treatment plant chemicals for the 2024-2025 fiscal years.

—Authorized the renewal of contracts with Lamar Companies for billboards in Champaign, Putnam County and Mt. Vernon for the 2024-25 calendar years.

—Approved a resolution authorizing certain city staff members to enter into an agreement for the solicitation of joint purchase master contracts for rock salt for the 2024-2025 calendar years.

(c)2024 the Effingham Daily News (Effingham, Ill.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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