Near the entrance of the Louisville Metro impound lot is a car that’s mangled practically beyond recognition. But the hubcaps reveal it was once a Mercedes.
Louisville wants to be able to sell cars like this one — cars that no one can drive anymore — for their scrap value. But currently, the city is facing a roadblock: an ordinance designed to prevent the sale of parts from stolen vehicles. The rules prohibit selling cars for their junk value without the title of ownership.
A proposed change to that ordinance exempting Louisville Metro from that rule will go before Metro Council on Thursday.
It’s one of a few options the city is considering to ease the overcrowding at the Butchertown lot that is owned by Metro government and operated by the Louisville Metro Police Department.
If the ordinance change passes, it could allow the city to clear out about 100 cars from the lot, said District 9 Councilman Bill Hollander, one of the measure’s sponsors. That would make room for some of the cars that remain on the streets, un-towed. Estimates of how many abandoned cars there are in the city range from 80 to more than a hundred, according to the Louisville Metro Police Department and Hollander.
The lot currently holds nearly 2,300 vehicles, an LMPD spokesperson said. It’s meant to house 1,800.
“We’re currently not able to tow all abandoned vehicles from the street because the impound lot is full, so anything we can do to expedite moving cars out of the impound lot is very important,” Hollander said.
He said Louisville already complies with state law. It notifies the vehicle’s owner, and waits the prescribed 45 days before deeming a vehicle abandoned. But a report from an internal audit released last month said those notices aren’t consistently mailed to vehicle owners.
The rule change wouldn’t solve all of the lot’s problems. The city is already looking for a new location for a larger lot. That’s meant to help with the capacity problem, as well as the facility’s role in polluting Beargrass Creek.
Louisville Metro is also considering plans to move about 350 vehicles held for evidence to a separate, secure location. A neighborhood meeting planned for next week to discuss a warehouse on Ninth Street has been postponed. A city spokesman said a new date has not yet been set.