Vehicle Impoundment Lot 1487 Frankfort Avenue, Louisville, KY

Vehicle Impoundment Lot
1487 Frankfort Avenue, Louisville, KY
(502) 574-7078
Monday-Friday 8 a.m. - 9 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., Sunday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Concern: The Vehicle Impoundment Lot operated by the Metro Louisville Police Department
contributes to the degradation of Beargrass Creek, has limited pedestrian access and contributes
to a poor aesthetic appeal of Lower Frankfort Ave and the Butchertown Greenway. The Vehicle
Impoundment Lot appears to be in violation of Metro Louisville Ordinances Chapter 114. In
2010 because of the downtown bridge alignment, Metro Louisville had plans to move the
Vehicle Impoundment Lot and purchased land at the combined Vehicle maintenance facility on
Newburg Road. Plans were shelved when the bridge alignment changed, according to the
director of Public Works, the land purchased to accommodate moving the Vehicle Impoundment
Lot is not currently used, and there are no plans for it.
Degradation of Beargrass Creek
1. The entire gravel lot drains to the creek. With the number of cars, trucks and motor cycles
that are in the lot, some of which are wrecked or damaged, there is run off that contains
petroleum products and other hazardous wastes. There is no riparian buffer, catchment
basin, or oil/water separator between the lot and the collection point of stormwater runoff
for the discharge pipe.
2. Bank Erosion: The runoff from the lot is channeled into a grass swale at the base of the
floodwall, and then piped to the bank of Beargrass Creek. The pipe discharges into the
western side in the back of the sharp bend upstream of the Old CSO stone building and
downstream of the Muddy Fork Confluence. The pipe originally discharged onto a
concrete spillway, but over the years the bank has been eroded approximated 4 feet back
causing significant damage to area trees.
Pedestrian access and visual environment on Lower Frankfort Ave and the Butchertown
1. Lower Frankfort Avenue connects River Road/downtown Louisville to Frankfort Avenue
business district. The stretch from River Road to Story Avenue is lacking aesthetic
appeal. The Frankfort Avenue Business Association has said that hotel guests staying
downtown Louisville have been discouraged to drive that way, as it is “ugly.”
2. There are no sidewalks on Lower Frankfort Avenue from River Road to the vehicle
impoundment lot, thereby limiting pedestrian access
3. The Butchertown Greenway begins at the floodwall and continues to River Road,
Riverpark Place, Eva Bandman Park and the Louisville Waterfront Park connecting to the
105 Mile Louisville Loop and the Big Four Bridge. Walking on the greenway, the first
thing one sees is the Vehicle Impoundment Lot with wrecked cars, trucks and
ambulances. The rest of the greenway is green.
The Vehicle Impoundment Unit (VIU) is responsible for the impoundment of vehicles
that are in violation of traffic regulations, blocking streets or abandoned in public areas.
The VIU is also responsible for providing towing and impoundment services for vehicles
identified as nuisances by Metro Inspections, Permits and Licenses and clearing streets
after vehicular accidents. The unit stores vehicles involved in fatal accidents, arson
investigations and other criminal activity.
1: Letterle Pump Station - owned by LG& E
Ideas were generated in a brainstorming session – assuming the lot will stay.
Review current Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and Management Policies
1. Identify categories/numbers of vehicles on the impoundment lot; develop a 5 year trend line.
a. Violations of traffic regulations, blocking streets or abandoned in public areas.
b. Vehicles that had been nuisances by IPL and clearing streets after vehicle accidents.
c. Vehicles involved in fatal accidents, arson investigations and other criminal activity.
d. City-owned vehicles that are no longer in operation.
2. Add $10.00 fee – or some amount - per towed vehicle or auctioned vehicle to develop a site
restoration fund. The Vehicle Impoundment Lot should add a charge for all private and
public vehicles that are stored there longer than 2 weeks – as that is the auction cycle
3. Estimate the amount of surface space needed to accommodate vehicles in each identified
category. Identify the specific area(s) of the current impoundment property that could be
used to store the impounded vehicles.
4. Explore the feasibility of removing all vehicles, including City-owned vehicles that are not
part of the Louisville Metro Police Vehicle Impoundment Unit.
5. Examine the permits and existing regulations/laws for a vehicle impoundment lot on the
outside of the flood wall; determine if it is in the flood plain. Ensure that the Vehicle
Impoundment lot meets Metro Louisville Ordinances for Junkyards or salvage yards.
6. Does the Vehicle Impoundment Lot have a storm water permit? Work with MSD to
implement “Good Housekeeping and Pollution Prevention for Municipal Facilities as
required by the MS4 permit.
7. Is the city complying with the Clean Water Act?
Environmental Assessment:
8. Map and document the topography of the property. Ban cars from being parked in the 100
year flood plain as Metro Louisville ordinance requires.
9. Test the soil and determine if there are contamination plumes leading to the creek.
10. Determine the amount of annual run-off and if there are any containments in it.
11. Describe the worst case scenario, or the flooding impact of a 50 year, 100 year or 500 year
flood, How much contamination will flow into Beargrass and the Ohio River as the Vehicle
impound lot is outside the flood wall.
12. Install a wetland and or vegetative buffer to filter containments from the Vehicle
Impoundment lot run off. Consider some type of collection tank/system to gather the runoff
from the piped location that could be hauled away or pumped out periodically to keep
contaminants/runoff out of the creek until a longer term solution is done.
13. Determine the amount of Beargrass Creek bank erosion that is caused by the runoff from the
Vehicle impoundment lot and develop a bank stabilization plan.
14. Determine the air quality benefits if the lot is closed and planted as a forest.
15. Metro Police manages the site currently, what is the role and responsibility of the land
owners: LG & E, MSD and Metro Louisville
Pedestrian access and aesthetic appeal:
16. Establish sidewalks and bike route from the vehicle impoundment lot to River Road.
17. Landscape the Vehicle Impoundment Lot entrance in coordination with the proposed plans
for the Heingold façade and the future Botanical Garden being developed by Botanica.
18. Landscape the Lot to create a visual buffer with the Butchertown Greenway.
PHASE II: Explore the adaptive reuse of the abandoned Litterle Pump station on the north east corner of the
Vehicle Impoundment Lot. The 1936 structure has two floors, bathrooms, running water, electricity and phone
Enhance Safety and Security on the Butchertown Greenway: This past summer there was an unsolved murder
on the greenway and it is the site of frequent vandalism. Graffiti is on the LG & E’s Letterle pump station and
MSD’s old CSO structure.
o Establish a coordinating committee between Metro Parks (overseeing Butchertown Greenway,
MSD (overseeing Beargrass Creek pumping station and the flood wall), Metro Police (Vehicle
Impoundment Lot), Public Works, 9th Council district, Kentucky Department of Transportation
(I-71 underpass) River Park Place, Botanica and Waterfront Development.
o Buy a jet ski for the river patrol so they can patrol the lower reaches of Beargrass Creek from
the pumping station to the waterfront.
Vision ideas: Frankfort Avenue Urban Forest -or- Frankfort Avenue Urban Farm
Metro Louisville MS4 permit:
Question: Does the sum of the unclaimed vehicle sale proceeds and the fees/fines paid by vehicle owners and
insurance companies cover the costs of running this impoundment lot? If not, what does LMPD need from the
city in order to make our impoundment lot a break-even proposition? At the heart of this question is a sense
that the public should not carry a burden belonging to vehicle owners and insurance companies. There are
10,000 vehicles per year and an environmental assessment could be tacked on to the charges, there would be a
funding stream to pay off a bond measure to fully restore the area. imagine a leed certified vehicle
impoundment lot.
Columbus Ohio did it, - check this out
Kansas City, MO did it. check it out - This has a great explanation
New York City did it - check it out
Excerpts from: Metro Louisville Ordinances
FACILITY. Any property, premises, or place of business, that is maintained, operated, or used for storing,
keeping, buying or selling of five or more junked , wrecked, unlicensed, or non-operative automobiles,
vehicles, machines, appliances and/or other similar scrap or salvage materials, scrap copper, brass, rope, rags,
batteries, rubber debris, iron, steel or other scrap or ferrous or non-ferrous material. This term shall include
junkyards, automotive recycling dealers and facilities, and used-car parts dealers.
No facility shall be operated or maintained unless it is in compliance with all applicable federal, state
and local laws, statutes, ordinances, regulations and permit requirements.
A facility shall be operated, maintained or conducted entirely inside an enclosed building or buildings,
or on premises enclosed by a fence with screening completely shielding its contents from public view
If one or more sides of the facility abut property that is industrial, and do not provide an unobstructed
view to the general public, or if there is a substantial buffer between properties, then the fence that is
utilized shall not be subject to the screening requirements set forth herein, so long as the facility contents
are completely shielded from public view by the buffer, or any buildings on the adjacent property.
No vehicles, complete or dismantled, shall be stored within 500 feet of any private well, school, church,
or public park, to be measured along a straight line from the nearest point on the herein-referenced
properties to the vehicle in question; and
No vehicles may be stored on land that is sited within the 100-year floodplain.
No facility or part of a facility shall be allowed to operate on a slope greater than 12%.
If a vehicle is leaking anti-freeze, gas, oil, battery fluid, refrigerant, or other flammable liquids, it shall
be drained within 72 hours of the time of placement on the licensed premises, or upon discovery of a
leak at any point subsequent to placement on the premises. Such fluids shall be collected, stored and
disposed of in accordance with applicable federal, state and local statutes, ordinances and regulations
pertaining thereto.
All facilities shall have a paved surface with a containment curb, or an alternate method approved in
writing by the Director, which is intended to prevent fluids from escaping to unpaved areas, on which
the removal of fluids or crushing of vehicles shall take place.
Any person licensed to operate an automotive recycling facility/junkyard who violates the regulations
set forth in this chapter shall be subject to having the license revoked, and may be fined not more than
$100 per offense. Each day of such violation(s) shall constitute a separate offense.