LMPD tow lot

LMPD tow lot

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- An ordinance aimed at helping to alleviate the long-term stress on the Louisville Metro Police tow lot would allow for some people to get their cars back without having to pay any fees. 

Broken down and abandoned cars have long been a problem in Louisville. By October 2020, there were more than 5,000 scattered throughout the city, according to a newsletter from Metro Council President David James. For years, however, there was nowhere to put the cars. 

The towing of abandoned vehicles was paused in March 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but after an "unacceptable" number of abandoned vehicles were left along roads and in neighborhoods, towing was restarted in July.

An ordinance sponsored by council members (D) Nicole George and (D) Bill Hollander aims to alleviate some of the issues facing the lot.

"The thought is that maybe one way to help would be to have an amnesty period of maybe a week a year where people could get their cars without fee," Hollander said.

In other words, a period could be set where anyone with a car in the tow lot could come pick it up without having to pay any fees. The amnesty period could be 30 days in any one given year. Currently, if a car is towed in the city, the owner is charged an $85 tow fee and then $15 a day for the first seven days are car is stored at the lot. After the first seven days, the owner is charged $7.50 per day. 

"I don't think its a permanent solution to our problem, but maybe, if we can get a few more cars out, it's a few more cars we can get off the street," Hollander said.

Hollander estimates that the city would take a $25,000 to $45,000 revenue hit for creating a one-week amnesty period. The proposal is still under discussion and subject to change prior to a vote by Metro Council. 

The problem with the tow lot was first identified years ago, and despite of millions of dollars allocated for the project, the city has still not found a suitable space for a new tow lot. 

"We allocated $2 million two years ago for Mayor Fischer to purchase a new tow lot so we would have space to put new vehicles," James said in September. "It's extremely frustrating for citizens throughout the city."

James estimated there are still "thousands" of cars that need to be towed in Louisville.

"At this time LMPD has not identified any viable options available for sale. We will continue to explore options with Metro Facilities as they become available," an LMPD spokesperson said in an email. "In the meantime, we are currently working towards a multi-faceted solution to manage and reduce the number of vehicles at the tow lot."

With Louisville Metro Police's tow lot full, the city in 2020 contracted Suburban to haul abandoned and junked vehicles to its property off Fern Valley Road. However, that arrangement has been marred in controversy after a lawsuit claimed Suburban was illegally towing cars. The suit remains ongoing. 

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