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City Ordinances

Keep the following ordinances in mind.

“Nuisance Party” ordinance 16-301 and 16-302

What makes a party a nuisance party?

  • A gathering of 10 or more people who do not live at the residence
  • An ordinance violation occurs, as defined in Ordinance 16-301 (below), including Peace Disturbance, Fighting, MIP, and Parking violations
  • Additionally, Nuisance Party attendees shall disperse when ordered to do so, or be subject to arrest


  • 1st Offense: Fine of $500-2000, or up to 3 months imprisonment
  • 2nd and Subsequent Offense: Fine of $1,000-4,000, or up to 3 months imprisonment
  • Can lead to eviction


  • Be aware of the noise level at your gathering
  • Only invite people you know and do not allow people who you do not know
  • Ensure guests act appropriately and if they do not, ask them to leave
  • If the party becomes out of your control, call the Police Department at 311, or 911 if it is an emergency, and request assistance in dispersing the party
  • Cooperate with law enforcement, including dispersing your guests, or dispersing if you are a guest

Ordinance Language


Nuisance party is a social gathering of ten (10) or more people on residential property that results in any of the following occurring at the site of the gathering, on neighboring property or on an adjacent public street:

  • Unlawful sale, furnishing, possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages
  • Violation of any of the provisions of article III of this chapter (noise)
  • Fighting
  • Property damage
  • Littering
  • Outdoor urination or defecation in a place open to public view
  • The standing or parking of vehicles in a manner that obstructs the free flow of traffic
  • Conduct that threatens injury to persons or damage to property
  • Unlawful use or possession of marijuana or any drug or controlled substance
  • Trespassing
  • Indecent exposure
  • Setting off fireworks
  • Discharging firearms


It shall be unlawful for any person having the right to possession of any residential premises, whether individually or jointly with others, to cause or permit a social gathering on the premises to become a nuisance party.

Occupancy Ordinance 22-184

This ordinance requires your landlord to disclose the zoning for the unit you are renting either through the lease or by signing a separate disclosure. The zoning laws regulate how many people can live in your unit and violating the zoning law can land you in front of a judge. Over occupancy leads to greater traffic, trash, noise and possibly safety issues for occupants. The general rule of thumb is no more than four unrelated occupants may live together in a unit but know that there are some areas where only three unrelated occupants can live together. If there are related occupants living together where occupancy may exceed the allowed limits, please feel free to ask if you will be in compliance with our codes.

Keeping these ordinances in mind while residing in Columbia will keep police officers from knocking on your door and it will keep you from appearing in Municipal Court. For a complete list of ordinances visit