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MSD Board OKs Changes to Agency's Surplus Land Sales Policy

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Louisville’s Metropolitan Sewer District Board has voted to change the way the agency disposes of surplus property. The board voted unanimously to adopt the modifications to MSD’s policies on Monday.

Recently, WFPL reported on the sale of a vacant lot in the city’s Butchertown neighborhood to pork processor JBS Swift. The transaction was unusual; it happened quickly, through a commercial real estate agent, and an offer by another business was ignored. Documents obtained showed that MSD employees were in contact with Swift attorneys about the sale months before the property was listed, and while it was on the market.

Now, the agency is modifying the policy in an attempt to make it more transparent. The changes adopted by the board include:

•    MSD will advertise via public notice all of the agency’s surplus properties that the board approves for disposal;

•    MSD will use a real estate broker for some of those transactions; the decision whether to use a broker or not is at the sole discretion of the agency;

•    MSD will issue a formal Request for Proposals to hire a real estate broker to help dispose of those properties;

•    When the agency is using a broker, MSD staff won’t have any direct contact with potential buyers after the public notice is issued.

The next surplus property the agency will dispose of is at 8204 Cortland Avenue near Manslick Road; the board authorized MSD staff to sell the 4.5 acre lot at Monday's meeting.

WFPL Reporter Ashley Lopez contributed to this story.

Erica Peterson is WFPL's Director of News and Programming.