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Columbus News

Posted on: July 20, 2023

CITY GOVERNMENT 101 - What is Code Enforcement?


“City Government 101” is an ongoing series that debuted in April 2023 that highlights different aspects of municipal government as it pertains to Columbus, Nebraska, in hopes to provide information on how the City of Columbus operates. Please send questions and suggestions to

You’re walking through your neighborhood when you notice something that doesn’t look quite right. You see someone’s lawn that looks out of place with the unkept lawn and weeds growing. Or, there is a car parked in the middle of a front yard or another house appears to have its roof basically falling off.

These things have to be addressed because they could pose a danger to neighborhood kids or even bring down the value of your property. Plus, these things really make a house in your neighborhood a real eyesore.

Who wants that? Nobody.

You don’t think you should have to handle it, but then again, who does?

Enter your local code enforcement team.

Local ordinances are put into place by the Columbus City Council to keep the community safe, healthy and livable for everyone. The Code Enforcement Office does its best to make sure people are in compliance with municipal codes and perform essential inspections, unafraid to issue ticket violations when necessary.

In essence, the Code Enforcement Office is responsible for ensuring that a community’s businesses, developers and residents abide by the established City Code, which you can read in full here.

It’s not glamorous. The team members spend much of each day they’re on the job out in the field, following up on calls and writing up any infractions. The Code Enforcement team is not only looking out for the aesthetics of the community but also items related to building and development, property maintenance, public health and more. 

Throughout the years, Code Enforcement has received calls on a variety of subjects ranging from unkept lawns (you can’t have grass or weeds higher than 12 inches), people building without proper permits and people operating car repair shops out of their home garages (not safe) to multiple cars parked in a front lawn for weeks at a time (cars in lawns are not allowed) and piles of gutters and trash stacked in yards (just doesn’t look nice).

Code Enforcement officials know they can’t be everywhere at once with 20,000-plus residents in the community, but they do their best to patrol the area to look for issues and address as much as they can.

Their goal is to uphold City Code and keep Columbus safe.

The public is encouraged to call Code Enforcement at 402-562-4307 with any questions or concerns. Please leave a detailed message with your name, number, and address of the violation, and the call will be returned as soon as possible. The Office is open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.



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