Compliance Hotline

803-794-3506 ext. 805

The code compliance hotline allows citizens to leave messages about code enforcement and community appearance issues during and after normal business hours.

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What is the goal of code compliance?

The goal of code enforcement is to enhance the quality of life for citizens by enforcing city codes dealing with abandoned vehicles, debris, public nuisance violations, signage, land use, habitable structures, business licenses and any other such matters.  Code enforcement personnel work closely with businesses, residents, and other municipal departments to improve the city’s appearance and to insure compliance with local ordinances.

What are the general duties of code compliance inspectors?

Code compliance inspectors proactively and responsively address complaints related to nuisance abatement, municipal code and zoning ordinance regulations, business license regulations, and housing regulations.  Code compliance inspectors focus on the visual enhancement of properties and the improvement of health and safety for citizens and business operators.  Code compliance inspectors are knowledgeable in municipal ordinances, zoning regulations, and property maintenance codes.  Code compliance inspectors also seek opportunities to work with community organizations to resolve quality of life, health, and safety issues.

Code Compliance Chart

Code Compliance Compliant Process

The exact procedure depends on the nature of the complaint, the history of the property on which the complaint exists, the willingness of the owner/occupant to resolve the violation, and the procedure required by city ordinances. Many code violations, however, can be addressed using a standard process. The flowchart demonstrates how code compliance inspectors address many complaints. Complaints are typically addressed on the day they are received. While many violations are addressed and resolved within one to seven days, some violations may take several months to resolve. One compounding factor is the tendency for “problem” properties to slip back into a state of disorder after the case has been closed. Code compliance inspectors regularly revisit properties to address violations that reappear.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of issues does code compliance investigate?

Code compliance inspectors address a wide variety of complaints throughout the year. Each incident is documented and investigated, and while some complaints require more effort than others to successfully resolve, all incidents are addressed quickly.

The two most frequent violations addressed by code compliance inspectors are Accumulation of Weeds Violations and Business License Inspections/Violations. Code compliance inspectors rely on excellent communication skills and fair, progressive enforcement measures to effectively addressing various violations.

Do code compliance inspectors investigate animal complaints?

Code compliance inspectors do not investigate animal related complaints. Violations regarding animal control can be reported by contacting the West Columbia Police Department at 803.794.0721.

What steps does a code compliance inspector typically take to address a violation?

The exact procedure depends on the nature of the complaint, the history of the property on which the complaint exists, the willingness of the owner/occupant to resolve the violation, and the procedure required by city ordinances. Many code violations, however, can be addressed using a standard process.

Complaints are typically addressed on the day they are received. While many violations are addressed and resolved within one to seven days, some violations may take several months to resolve. One compounding factor is the tendency for “problem” properties to slip back into a state of disorder after the case has been closed. Code compliance inspectors regularly revisit properties to address violations that reappear.

Will a code compliance inspector meet with me and my neighbors?

Absolutely! Code compliance inspectors are available to meet with individuals, neighborhood associations, and business groups in West Columbia. In addition to educating the public about general code compliance, inspectors can discuss issues and concerns specific to the group. Please email Rozell Johnson or call 803.939.8631 if you would like the code compliance department to meet with your group.

What will the code compliance department do next?

Code compliance inspectors anticipate building on previous successes while looking for ways to improve performance. The code compliance department has identified three key areas that will receive attention during the next year.

Develop Stronger Relationships with Residential and Business Communities
Code compliance inspectors are available to present information to neighborhood associations and commercial groups. Code compliance inspectors are looking for opportunities to meet with community groups and develop a positive, proactive relationship with residential and business associations.

Develop Methods to Address Nuisances that May Result from Growing or Emerging Trends

Code compliance inspectors have seen an increase in non-traditional activities such as parking lot kiosks, roadside vendors, and unique home occupations. The code compliance department receives complaints regarding nuisance generated from non-traditional activities. The code compliance department will investigate and develop methods to mitigate those complaints while preserving an individual’s ability to engage in entrepreneurial activity.

Develop a Systematic Approach to Concentrate on Focus Issues

In addition to their normal duties, code compliance inspectors will take an enhanced proactive approach to resolving certain issues throughout the year. Relying heavily on face-to-face contact and informational flyers, code compliance inspectors will work with individuals to resolve violations. The following list identifies when focus areas will be addressed throughout the year:

  • Proper display of address numbers to expedite emergency service response times (January – February)
  • Proper use of storage containers (January – February)
  • Weed accumulation and overgrown lots (March – April)
  • Business license assessment notices (April – May)
  • Commercial properties, storage yards, and service areas screening (June – July)
  • Derelict Vehicles (June – July)
  • Business sign maintenance (August – September)
  • Cleanliness of commercial properties (October – November)
  • Window/Temporary Sign Violations (November – December)

What do I do if I have received a violation notice?

Please read the notice carefully and comply with the instructions detailed in the notice. You may contact the issuing inspector directly if you have questions about the notice or need additional time to comply with the notice.

Is there a penalty for failure to comply to a code?

Typically, a code compliance inspector will issue a municipal summons to appear in the West Columbia Municipal Court.  Fines and fees can reach over $1,000.00 for each day the violation exists.  The city may also deny or withhold permits or seek other legal remedies through the court system.

What about graffiti?

Report graffiti to the West Columbia Police Department at 803.791.1880.  Graffiti must be removed or painted by the owner or occupant of the property to avoid being a violation of the public nuisance ordinance.  Graffiti includes any unwanted markings or paintings placed on your property by someone other than the property owner.  Call 911 immediately if you see someone actively vandalizing property.  Prompt removal of graffiti helps to discourage additional vandalism.

What about illegal dumping?

Report illegal dumping to the West Columbia Police Department at 803.791.1880. Litter and debris, including unwanted tires, must be removed by the owner or occupant of the property to avoid being a violation of the public nuisance ordinance. Call 911 immediately if you see someone actively dumping tires or debris onto a private property or public roadway. Prompt removal of unwanted debris helps to discourage additional illegal dumping.

Who can I contact for more information?

The Code Compliance Department is a robust unit, providing excellent service to the citizens and businesses in West Columbia.  The department’s successes are due in large part to its cooperative, proactive approach to resolving a wide variety of issues.  Please feel free to contact the following people to discuss code compliance issues.

Rozell Johnson
Code Compliance Manager/Cross Connection Coordinator
803.939.8631

Siahee Shipman
Code Compliance Inspector
803.936.6289

Whitney Marsh
Code Compliance Inspector

Code Compliance Hotline
803.794.3506 ext. 805

The code compliance hotline allows citizens to leave messages about code enforcement and community appearance issues during and after normal business hours. Calling the hotline is the quickest method to having your concern heard by a code compliance inspector.