WENATCHEE — The City Council will once again consider changes to Wenatchee’s cryptocurrency mining rules.
Proposed code amendments from the Planning Commission would prohibit mining in residential areas but allow it in industrial zones. It would also be allowed in commercial zones, but not in the first 50 feet of a building’s ground floor.
State noise limits, which vary by zone, would apply to the operations. Applicants would have to demonstrate compliance with the standards and guarantee that they wouldn’t exceed the limits.
“This puts it on the applicant to demonstrate and makes them think about this ... rather than simply waiting for someone to complain,” senior planner Matt Parsons said at a June 20 City Council workshop.
The council is expected to vote on adopting the new rules at its July 11 meeting.
Bitcoin is the most common example of cryptocurrency, which is a digital currency that uses encryption to regulate money generation and verify transfers outside of a central bank. Cryptocurrency mining involves solving algorithms and requires specialized computers and cooling equipment.
Previously proposed code amendments would have allowed cryptocurrency mining in residential areas, but several councilmembers were opposed to that. Some also asked for noise limits to be lower than state levels, though the current proposal still applies state standards.
The City Council decided Jan. 10 to send the matter back to the Planning Commission.
The proposed changes would also broaden the definition of cryptocurrency mining and add a definition for data centers. Cryptocurrency mining operations and data centers would be required to blend in as much as possible with surrounding properties.
Some rules, including requiring approval of mining operations from Chelan County PUD and the state Department of Labor and Industries, still apply.
“Legitimate business owners that truly intend to do this on a large commercial scale, I don’t think any of these requirements in the proposed code are that onerous to accomplish,” planning manager Stephen Neuenschwander said at the June 20 workshop. “If they’re really into doing large-scale business, they will comply and they’ll move forward.”