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Decision on JBS Swift's Butchertown Lot Delayed Yet Again

Cabel St lot
Jacob Ryan

A decision on whether pork processor JBS Swift can continue to use a Butchertown parking lot for truck staging has been pushed back once again.

Swift has been using the Cabel Street lot for about a decade; it’s where refrigerated trucks sit, storing pork from the nearby slaughterhouse. But Swift’s use of the lot wasn’t considered permanent until last year, when the company bought the lot from Louisville’s Metropolitan Sewer District.

Now, the company is seeking a conditional use permit from Louisville’s Board of Zoning Adjustment to continue using the lot to run its refrigeration trucks. The Butchertown Neighborhood Association is opposing the permit, arguing the public health effects of the near-constant diesel emissions at the lot are significant.

Lawyers for the company say air testing at the site hasn’t shown any noteworthy potential impact on human health.

But after an initial hearing in August, the decision has been delayed month after month — sometimes because of late evidence, and sometimes because of missing board members. The permit was scheduled for another hearing on Monday, but an appeal over a related issue — operating hours at the lot — was included on the docket without proper notice.

Now, there’s another month without a resolution on the issue. And for some Butchertown residents, that’s another month of uncertainty.

Natasha Maze’s backyard backs up to the lot.

“I kind of laugh now, because it’s almost kind of a joke that they set up these hearings but they’re continuously able to skirt the issue, or get away with it,” she said.

Maze said she’d like to see a resolution to the drawn-out issue, even if Swift is granted the permit to continue using the Cabel Street lot for truck staging. Maze said restrictions on the hours the lot can operate, a set route for trucks accessing the lot and controls for noise, dust and vibrations would greatly improve quality of life in the neighborhood.

A phone call to Swift general manager John Cliff wasn’t returned Tuesday afternoon.

The next hearing before the Board of Zoning Adjustment is scheduled for Jan. 11.

Featured image by Jacob Ryan/WFPL News