TODAY'S QUESTION: Should breaking a zoning law become a nuisance violation?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010 | 8:00 a.m. CDT

Fifth Ward Councilwoman Laura Nauser said she wants to tighten laws about the number of unrelated people in the living same residence.

City law states only three to four unrelated people can live in one residence, depending on the property's zoning. According to a Missourian article, Nauser wants to make breaking this law a nuisance violation, which would make it easier to enforce because nuisance activities have a stiff penalty.

Nauser said college students don't know the zoning law and break it unintentionally. She said she hopes if the city educates tenants about occupancy limits, fewer people will break the law, the article said.

According to the article, Leigh Britt, Office of Neighborhood Services manager, wrote a report to the Columbia City Council on how to reduce violations among renters.

If a property has repeat nuisance violations, the city can deem it a chronic nuisance and close it for a year, the article said.

Britt's report also recommends a city inspection whenever property changes hands. The City Council will probably consider the proposed changes in a month or two, Nauser said.

Do you agree with Nauser's recommendation to make breaking this law a nuisance violation?


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Russell Perkins August 10, 2010 | 9:58 a.m.

It should be the landlords who get fined not the tenants. I didn't know about this law and we have 4 of us living in a 4 bedroom duplex. It is quite possible that we are only zoned for 3. It wouldn't seem fair to make us either pay tons of fees or break our 1yr lease lease and pay tons of fees.

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