LMPD searching for a short-term solution for storing abandoned vehicles
If a car is abandoned on the highway or in a neighborhood, it should eventually be towed to the LMPD impound lot.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- If a car is abandoned on the highway or in a neighborhood, it should eventually be towed to the LMPD impound lot. However, LMPD says that is not an option until the department can find a solution for its overcrowded impound lot.
Craig Hubbuch, who lives in Germantown, has been reporting an abandoned car in his neighborhood for months. He said he drives by the white Hyundai with a flat tire and Michigan plates every day and has never seen it move.
So he called MetroCall at 3-1-1. When he never got a response, he called back. Hubbuch said MetroCall operators told him officers could not tow the vehicle, because there was no space for it.
“It kind of ticked me off," Hubbuch said. "I said 'Well, this is my neighborhood, and I consider this blight.' It has a flat tire, Michigan tags. First thing I thought, logically, it’s probably stolen. Could it be stolen? I don’t know.”
Hubbuch said he and his neighbors started a block watch a couple years ago to combat a crime problem in the area. And he said when they have reported abandoned cars in the past, the city has taken care of them.
"If there's trash or abandoned vehicles or cars up on blocks, that's going to draw crime to your neighborhood," he said. "And that bothers me."
After Hubbuch got his initial response from MetroCall, he reached out to Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith’s office, since it is her division. He said he never heard back. So he called the non-emergency LMPD phone number. He was told an abandoned vehicle needs to be reported to MetroCall not the non-emergency number.
Hubbuch continues to make reports to MetroCall on the car.
“Their answer is just not satisfactory to me,” he said. “They said they can’t do anything about it, and that’s not acceptable.”
WDRB News reached out to LMPD for a response. Spokesman Dwight Mitchell said an abandoned vehicle is not the department’s responsibility, unless there is illegal activity happening surrounding the car. He said citizens can call for a private tow if they want.
“I’m not going to do that. I pay taxes," Hubbuch said. "This is the job of the city."
WDRB News then emailed Will Ford, the communications specialist with Develop Louisville/Codes and Regulations. Ford forwarded the following statement from Lt. Col. Robert Schroeder:
“We understand that this is an issue. Because the LMPD impound lot is over capacity, the city is seeking a long term solution to this problem through a new impound lot location that appropriately addresses the needs of the community. Right now, we are devising short term solutions that will prevent cars from remaining abandoned on the street. Until those short term solutions are established, the city does not have a location to store additional abandoned cars.”
Hubbuch said he does not find that to be an acceptable response.
“I don’t know what the answer is, other than we pay taxes,” Hubbuch said. “They have a problem, and they need to find a solution. I get it. There’s an issue here. But it certainly isn’t being resolved in a timely manner.”
The following Metro Government Codes detail the rules and consequences regarding abandoned and nuisance vehicles:
72.039 ALL NIGHT PARKING; ABANDONED AND JUNKED VEHICLES
(A) It shall be a parking violation for anyone to park in any one place any vehicle on any of the public ways of Metro Government for a period of 24 hours or longer.
(B) A vehicle parked in one place upon a public way for three consecutive days, after being marked with a warning, shall be deemed abandoned and shall be subject to all existing regulations of Metro Government pertaining to motor vehicles.
(C) (1) Junked vehicle means any vehicle which is inoperative or reasonably appears to be inoperative; wrecked; dismantled; partially dismantled; or discarded. Conditions which may indicate that a motor vehicle is "junked" include, but not limited to extensively rusted, or without all properly inflated tires, windshields, window glass, major chassis components, brake lights, or without any other vehicle component required by law or with an expired license plate or registration tag or without a license plate or registration tag.
(2) A junked vehicle located on a public way shall be deemed a public nuisance.
(3) It shall be a parking violation for any person or persons to cause or allow a junked vehicle to be placed, located, maintained, or to exist upon the public way.
(4) Any junked vehicle located on the public way is subject to being removed pursuant to § 72.128.
(D) It shall be a parking violation to park or store upon a public way any device, which is not capable of being driven under its own power (self-propelled), or which cannot legally be operated on public ways. Such devices include but are not limited to trailers and boats. Any such device parked on the public way is subject to being removed pursuant to § 72.128.
(E) It shall be a parking violation to park or upon a public way any with an expired license plate or registration tag or without a license plate or registration tag.
72.128 IMPOUNDMENT OF VEHICLES IMPROPERLY PARKED
(A) Metro Government may impound a motor vehicle parked, stopped or standing upon a street or public way within its jurisdiction in violation of an ordinance or statute prohibiting parking, stopping or standing in the location, manner or at the time the vehicle is cited or for any other lawful reason.
(B) No vehicle shall be parked on any public way within Jefferson County which vehicle has accumulated three unpaid parking citations which are not under appeal and as to which notice has been issued pursuant to KRS 82.615(2).
(C) Metro Government, in addition to the fines levied for the parking or traffic offense, may by ordinance impose reasonable towing, handling and storage charges upon an impounded vehicle.
(D) Metro Government may condition the release of an impounded vehicle upon the payment of the any outstanding unpaid citations that have become final, towing, handling, and storage charges imposed thereon, unless the owner or other person entitled to possession challenges the validity of the impoundment pursuant to § 72.129. A vehicle may be released to the owner or other person entitled to possession only upon proof of ownership or right to possession. Metro Government may require reasonable security, bond, or other assurances of indemnification from a person who is not the registered owner of the vehicle prior to releasing the vehicle to such person.
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