In an effort to keep West Columbia clean, healthy and attractive to all its residents and visitors, the police department, along with city hall is responsible for the enforcement of the city's ordinances relating to high weeds and grass, debris, junk vehicles, dangerous structures, signage violations, and other code violations. The City's Code of Ordinances details these enforcement issues. The most common violations include overgrown lots, excessive trash, junk vehicles, open storage and illegal signs. There are other violations that code enforcement addresses so if you have any questions about your particular concern, please contact us by phone or email. View a printable brochure (PDF).
CODE ENFORCEMENT CITATIONS
Citations (tickets) are issued when an individual fails to comply with a city ordinance. Code violations are Class C misdemeanors that can result in fines only. Most ordinances carry a fine of $100 to $2000.
Code Enforcement's objective is to obtain voluntary compliance through community education and a certain time frame for bringing subject properties into compliance. Citations are easily avoided through responsible action.
CODE ENFORCEMENT COMPLAINTS
If you have a concern about the conditions existing on a piece of property, contact Code Enforcement at 979-345-3123 or simply fill out and submit an online concern form. You may submit your name on the form, or submit it anonymously, however, if you submit an anonymous complaint, and then later call to find out status of your complaint, it may not be available. All full-time officers at the department are considered "Code Enforcement Officers", and will be able to address the problem. An officer will investigate the complaint and begin our casework on it when necessary.
The normal timeline for a property to be inspected is within 2 days from the time a complaint is received. If warranted, a written citation is then given to the property owners or tenants. For all violations, the violator is given ten days to correct the violation, then notify the court clerk at 979-345-4832, and inform the court that the violation has been corrected. The officer that issued the citation will verify that it has been corrected, notify the court, and RECOMMEND dismissal of the citation. Since a violation of city ordinance did occur, the department can only inform the court that the situation was corrected, and recommend dismissal. We cannot guarantee the charge(s) will be dismissed. After the time has elapsed, if the violation has not been corrected, the City can mow high grass and weeds and send the owner an invoice. Junk vehicles still not removed will be towed by the city at the owners expense.
Thank you for helping to keep historic West Columbia beautiful!
EXAMPLES OF CODE VIOLATIONS
HIGH GRASS AND WEEDS
Grass or weeds on residential or commercial lots and in fields or on undeveloped lots are in violation of the City of West Columbia's ordinances. High grass contributes to blight conditions, creates an insect and rodent harborage and becomes a nuisance. It can also make grass fires more dangerous for fire fighters and home owners. A fee will be charged to the property owner if the City mows the property. A lien can be placed against the property if the bill is not paid. Code of Ordinances, Chapter 13, Article II
INAPPROPRIATE & UNSITEFUL STORAGE
Any items not designed for storage or use outside or not resistant to the weather cannot be placed or stored outside. Those items should be stored within a structure or removed from the property.
Code of Ordinances, Chapter 13, Article II
Junk vehicles are defined as those that are inoperable and do not have current registration or inspection stickers. If a car has been inoperable for 30 continuous days regardless of the fact that it has current registration and inspection, it is still considered a junk vehicle. Covering a vehicle with a tarp is not a remedy for this violation and does not protect it from the enforcement of this ordinance. The vehicle must be kept in an enclosure with walls on all four sides. A "carport" will not protect the vehicle from enforcement either. The vehicle must be completely kept from view of the public.
Code of Ordinances Chapter 13, Article IV
A permit is required to hold a garage sale. Permits are issued at City Hall at no charge, forty-eight hours prior to the sale and must include locations of any signs that will be posted. Garage sales are allowed once every three months, cannot be held for more than three consecutive days and cannot begin before 7 a.m. nor last longer than 8p.m. No more than five signs are allowed and must not be any larger than two feet by two feet. Signs cannot be posted on any utility easements or telephone poles and must be removed within twenty-four hours after the sale has ended. Code of Ordinances Chapter 10 Article VII
All swimming pools, in-ground or above ground, with a depth greater than twenty four(24) inches must be fenced in.
Swimming Pool Code, Section 315
Any loud noise considered to be loud, irritating or disturbing is violates the City's loud noise ordinance. Loud Noise permits are issued at City Hall at no charge. Code of Ordinances, Chapter 13 Article VI
No fireworks are allowed inside the City Limits. It shall be unlawful for any person to store, to offer for sale, expose for sale, sell at retail, use or explode any fireworks or blasting agents within the city.
Code of Ordinances, Chapter 7 Article 3
Residents are allowed a maximum of four pets over three months old with a multiple pet permit. All dogs and cats are to have their rabies vaccination and city license. Horses are allowed within the City Limits but must be kept a minimum of 150 feet from any residential dwelling. Violations of this ordinance carry a maximum fine of $500 each day the violation exists. City Ordinance No. 535 (1/26/06)
SOLICITING (PERMIT REQUIRED)
It shall be unlawful for any person to go from house-to-house or from place-to-place in the city soliciting, selling or taking orders for or offering to sell or take orders for any goods, wares, merchandise, services, photographs, newspapers, magazines or subscriptions to newspapers or magazines, without having first applied for and obtained a license so to do from the city secretary. It shall also be unlawful to sell or solicit in the city without carrying such license while engaged in such soliciting or selling. Code of Ordinances, Chapter 10-83
The City enforces a juvenile curfew for those 14 years of age and younger unless accompanied by a parent. It starts at 10:00 p.m. and ends at 6:00 A.M.; for juveniles 15-16 years of age or more at 11:00 P.M. to 6:00 a.m. on Sunday through Thursdays at midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. Under certain circumstances, permits may be issued by the Chief of Police. Code of Ordinances, Chapter 12, Article II.
ES & SKATEBOARDING
No skates or skateboarding is allowed on any sidewalk, road or highway in the business district of the City or upon any sidewalk adjacent to any public building. Code of Ordinances, Chapter 18, Article II
PARADE PERMITS REQUIRED
Parade Permits are required for any number of persons, vehicles or animals upon any public street, alley, highway or right-of-way two days prior to the parade or procession. Chapter 18, Article V
BURNING INSIDE CITY LIMITS
Burning is prohibited inside the city limits of West Columbia.
No discharge of firearms is allowed within the City Limits. Code of Ordinances, Chapter 12, Article 1