City announces plans for new LMPD auction lot to mitigate challenge of abandoned vehicles

December 28, 2021

Mayor Greg Fischer today announced the city has filed development plans with Metro Government’s Planning and Design Services to create a new auction lot for the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD).

The 5.32-acre site, located at 3502 7th Street Road, is owned by Metro Government and is currently undeveloped. The site will alleviate crowding at LMPD’s impound lot on Frankfort Avenue and create the opportunity to get more abandoned vehicles off streets.

“Our existing impound lot is a challenge that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic because of the slowing and stopping of auctions that, in normal circumstances, would help us get cars out of the lot and off the streets,” said the Mayor. “We have floated nearly a dozen potential sites to relocate the impound lot, but for one reason or another – cost, location, flooding – these locations weren’t suitable. Creating a separate auction lot is an innovative solution that will allow us to more quickly move abandoned vehicles off roadways, further addressing my No. 1 priority, public safety.”

The city plans to add features to beautify and mitigate any visual or security concerns at the auction lot, including lighting and screened fencing, planting trees and shrubs, and round-the-clock security. The site, about a four-minute drive from the Central Business District, is bordered by two businesses, a vacant lot, and residential property to the west that is buffered by train tracks and greenery.

The Mayor noted that once LMPD has addressed the backlog of vehicles, created by ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, “We will engage in conversations with the City of Shively on the appropriate future use of the property for the public when the auction lot is no longer needed.”

“LMPD is pleased to move forward with development of a new auction lot and we are appreciative of Metro Facilities for its work to make this a reality,” said LMPD Major Emily McKinley. “Abandoned vehicles throughout our community present an extreme safety risk for everyone – residents, wrecker drivers and police officers. LMPD is committed to improving the safety of our streets and community, and this is one step in that direction.”

More than 140 abandoned or wrecked vehicles are waiting to be towed from roadways. LMPD will start towing those vehicles to the new auction lot and then focus on transferring other vehicles there from the existing impound lot.

Following a competitive bid process, the city last month awarded the auctioneer contract to Auctions ASAP. The new lot will allow for in-person auctions that would be held twice a month, and typically announced five to seven days in advance.

In another effort to reduce the number of vehicles at the impound lot, Mayor Fischer early in the new year will sign the Louisville Metro Council’s ordinance giving the city’s Director of Public Works the ability to declare an amnesty period, not to exceed 30 days, in which all towing and storage fees are waived for those picking up their vehicles from the impound lot. The ordinance, passed by Council on Dec. 16, is designed to eliminate a financial barrier that may be contributing to the impound lot crowding.

“We’ve been working together for years with our LMPD, Facilities, Louisville Forward, Metro Council and residents, to find solutions to the complicated issues plaguing our impound lot,” said the Mayor. “The new amnesty ordinance and the development of an auction lot are examples of Louisville Metro Government’s commitment to finding innovative solutions to our challenges.”

The city announced plans to seek a new a new location for LMPD’s existing impound lot in 2017, citing space issues, as well as the lot’s negative impact on nearby Beargrass Creek and the Beargrass Creek Greenway Trail. At that time, the city issued a public Request for Information, seeking properties that fit the city’s search criteria for size, location, and other physical and operational requirements. In early 2018, LMPD held a series of public meetings and tours related to the search but found no alternative locations that fit the necessary criteria.

The lot, located for at least 50 years at 1478 Frankfort Ave. in Butchertown, serves as the main temporary storage area for cars towed from throughout the city, and as a longer-term storage area for vehicles being held as evidence in a legal proceeding. Its capacity is about 1,800 vehicles but frequently stores more than 2,000 vehicles.

The auction lot development plan will next undergo a Community Facility Review by Metro Government’s Planning and Design Services staff. A public meeting of the Development Review Committee to review the plan has been scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022, at 1 p.m. Residents can attend the meeting in-person at the Old Jail (514 W. Liberty St.) or virtually. Details will be available at https://louisvilleky.gov/government/planning-design/upcoming-public-mee….

Once approved, work on the property would begin immediately.

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