Code Enforcement Program

The code was enacted for the purpose of regulating and eliminating public health hazards and nuisances in order to protect public health, promote safety and prevent the entrance of infectious, contagious, communicable or dangerous diseases into Cole County, Missouri.

  • Provide a service to the citizens and visitors of Cole County to facilitate a safe and healthy working and living environment.
  • Promote self compliance with the code provisions and regulations by property owners and/or custodians.
  • Promote public awareness of the potential health hazards that can be generated by conditions in their home and work environments.
In 2001 the original Environmental protection and safety code was adopted, and utilized the court system and county prosecutor.

2005 a review of the original code was done and on August 15th, 2005 the Cole County Environmental Protection and Safety Code Chapter II was enacted. This is the code we operate under today. The prosecutor and courts were removed from the enforcement process. The current Code was enacted under the authority of the following State Statutes:
  • 192.300: Counties may make additional health rules - fees may be charged, deposit in county treasury, purpose - individuals unable to pay not to be denied health services - records and publication - violation a misdemeanor.
  • 67.402: Abatement of nuisance in certain counties (Boone, Cole, Jefferson) - ordinance requirements. 
How to File a Complaint
You may call the Code Enforcement Office during regular business hours, Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. at 573-636-2181, ask to speak with Code Enforcement or staff in the environmental program. You may also write a letter detailing the nature of your complaint. Mail all complaints to:
Cole County Health Department
Attn: Code Enforcement
1616 Industrial Drive
Jefferson City, MO 65109

Or send an email to Code Enforcement (Attn: Code Enforcement Violation in the subject line). Download a Request for Investigation (PDF) to get started.

Information Need When Filing a Complaint
You must provide the exact address of where the violation is located; the nature of the violation and any pertinent information relating to the property of the violation that may help in resolving the problem is appreciated.

Complaints are considered to be Public Record and if requested must be released in accordance with Missouri’s “Sunshine Law” RSMO Chapter 610. This would include the name and contact information for the complainant. If you choose to remain anonymous you will not be contacted with investigation results but you may call with the property address to find status of the investigation. An anonymous complaint will be accepted but does require the exact address and the nature of the violation on the property being complained about so investigator can find the property and identify violations.

Types of Complaints Handled by the Code Enforcement Unit
The Code Enforcement Officer investigates and follows up on alleged violations of the Cole County Code affecting Health and Safety such as Property Maintenance Violations:
  • Inadequate yard maintenance - Grass with an average height of at least 12”
  • Solid waste storage and stockpiling - Excessive outside storage which may include household waste, derelict appliances, derelict building materials, vehicle parts, tires, and trash, junk and debris (Properly stored trash (e.g. trash cans or bags) may be properly stored on a property for a maximum of 14 days)
  • Inoperable derelict and/or unlicensed vehicles
    • Vehicles which are obviously inoperable (e.g. major components missing such as windshield, windows fenders, hood, etc.) or wrecked would be considered in violation if they are readily visible from the roadway or adjacent property.
    • Unlicensed vehicles in and by themselves are not necessarily a violation there are exceptions and proper storage methods available to owners to stay in compliance with the code. Vehicle complaints as with all complaints will be individually evaluated as to their threat to public health and safety.
  • Standing stagnant or offensive water - Items which hold stagnant or offensive water such as tires, tarps, etc. Naturally occurring standing water is not a violation such as wetlands or drainage ditches
  • Dangerous buildings and/or structures-to include dangerous foundations, cisterns, and other structures creating a public health hazard and/or nuisance or a public safety hazard
  • Public Health and Safety Violations
  • In addition to the above listed potential violations, any condition being maintained on a property which by its existence creates a:
    • Public Health Hazard - Any condition on property which poses an immediate and direct hazard to human health due to the condition itself or due to the immediate threat of transmission of disease through insects, animals, or other means of transmission or infection.
    • Public Nuisance - A condition on property creating a potential danger or hazard to human health if left without remedy due to the existence of the condition itself due to the immediate threat of transmission of disease through insects, animals, or other means of transmission or infection.
    • Public Safety Hazard-any condition on the property which by its existence creates a condition which poses a significant risk of serious bodily injury and/or death.
Complaints About Trees
If the tree is located on public property or is overhanging and/or obstructing the public right of way (sidewalk, street, alley, etc.), contact the Public Works Department at 573-636-3614. If the tree is on private property and appears to be overgrown, dead, diseased or creating a Public Safety Hazard, you may contact the Code Enforcement Officer at 573-636-2181. If the tree is located on private property and is overhanging or obstructing another piece of private property, it is considered a civil issue between the two property owners and the Cole County Health Department does not get involved.

Animal Complaints & Licensing
Inside the city limits of Jefferson-the Jefferson City Animal Protection and Control Division handles licensing and complaints regarding animals, such as barking dogs and dogs running loose. To contact Jefferson City Animal Protection and Control Division call 573-634-6429. In other areas of Cole County animal control complaints can be directed to the Cole County Sheriff’s Office Animal Control Division 573-634-9160.

Process After a Complaint is Filed
  • A case number is assigned and an onsite investigation is conducted.
    • If no violations exist the case is closed as unfounded.
  • If Violations exists-a “Violation Notice” is sent to property owner.
    • Identify the violations.
    • Set a compliance date for abatement and sets a hearing date.
    • Establish a remedial action plan.
  • If the property owner fails to bring the property into compliance.
    • An “Abatement Hearing” proceeds in front of the County Commission.
    • If the County Commission agrees that Health Hazards exist they issue an abatement order.
    • Private Contractors are hired to Abate the property.
    • Bill for abatement is sent to property owner plus an administrative fee. If not paid by owner it is added to their property tax bill.
  • What is the time frame for this process?
    • The property owner must be given at least 15 days from receipt of notice for to bring the property into compliance. Amount of time for compliance can vary depending on what needs to be done and if immediate legal notice can be done. In the case where the owner cannot be mailed or served notice publication in the local paper must be done. The publication must be for three consecutive weeks and the 15 days is from the last date of publication and then the case can proceed to hearing for the request of an Abatement Order.
Landlord\Tenant Disputes
  • Cole County Health department has no legal authority to investigate or require minimum living standards in privately owned properties. Some local jurisdictions or cities may require minimum occupancy standards if you live in a municipality we suggest you contact your local city government agency for guidance.
  • The Missouri Attorney General’s Office may be contacted with problems relating to rentals and landlord/tenant disputes.