To the Editor:

City of Forsyth – a place you are proud to call home …

... that is, unless you’re in a long – established residential neighborhood off East Main Street and Berner Avenue. That location, in the city of Forsyth, places you directly in a conflict zone, with a very expensive, energy guzzling, environmentally unfriendly Data Mining Center and a revenue hungry City Council.

Up until recent times, my family lived to the motto adopted by the City, proudly plastered on signage in downtown Forsyth. We do call Forsyth City HOME! Very recently, that feeling of being ‘home in Forsyth’, has been challenged; We’re about to get a new neighbor in our “residential” zone, one which operates on well-documented neighborhood disruption and unacceptable, over-the-top noise – which runs at various levels 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The data mining production ramps up during off-peak hours to take advantage of cheaper electricity costs – this is effectively when the surrounding community is sleeping (or trying to sleep!)

With the approval process of Planning and Zoning to rezone the affected area from Multi-Family to Industrial now completed, the Data Mining facility approval request moves to the City Council for public comment and/or vote. That comment and vote is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Monday Feb. 7 at City Hall. Interestingly, I noted while reading through their re-zoning request, there was no mention of the anticipated noise-levels to be generated by such a plant, which appears to me, to be a deliberate omission.

New investment is usually good – this type of facility though, is an obtrusive constantly noisy, energy consuming monster, that has a significant impact on the local environment and surrounding neighbors. The noise generated from these facilities has been likened to 2,000 hairdryers running simultaneously, a jet engine warming up on a tarmac, a swarm of drones, etc. These descriptions come from news articles of existing reports of litigation happening around the country, including Canada, of residential neighborhoods affected by existing data mining operations of the same nature.

A little research also demonstrates a common thread among these data mining centers, their local-affected communities and city officials. Once approved to commence operations, the company completely ignores any and all requests and concerns about the constant, unbearable noise output. That is, until litigation is commenced with demands of shutting down the operations entirely – then and only then, do the companies respond, with, at most, what appears to be lip-service communications only.

The City of Forsyth noise control laws are almost nonexistent. Vague and unenforceable at best. The World Health Organization (WHO) lists constant sounds, much lower than those anticipated by the data mining center, to adversely affect the lives of the people in the surrounding residential neighborhood. At least, PRIOR to the potential of passing the vote to accept the data mining center, the City should be thoroughly re-writing the city noise control ordinances to something measurable and enforceable. Something that protects the taxpaying residents who will be forced to live with an inappropriately zoned–industrial neighbor.

At the time of writing, only ONE City Councilor was able to be reached for comment – Thank you Councilor Gregory B. Goolsby!

 Darren Latch