• Land Use & Development Character
  • Housing & Neighborhoods
  • Quality of Life

Key Initiative

Implement a public relations and code enforcement campaign to address recurring property maintenance issues throughout the City.

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Every community deals with houses in disrepair, unmowed lawns, illegal dumping of trash, and inoperable or abandoned vehicles.  Homes that are in disrepair or that have inoperable vehicles on site can eventually affect the values of other properties in the neighborhood.

The purpose of code enforcement is to help minimize the effect of deterioration and blight within a neighborhood or the larger community.   Like many cities, Lebanon has a code enforcement officer within the Planning Department and code enforcement provisions within the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO).  However, there can be more code violations than the code enforcement officer can keep up with.  As a result, code enforcement is sometimes reactionary to complaints. 

The process includes the following: 

  1. Any person in the community can file a written complaint with the Planning Department, or the Planning and Zoning Administrator.  Additionally, the Code Enforcement Officer may observe a violation of the UDO. 
  2. The Code Enforcement Officer investigates the complaint or violation. 
  3. If a violation is deemed to have occurred, the Code Enforcement Officer issues a citation for a civil zoning violation.  The property owner must remedy the citation via different options noted in the UDO. 
  4. If not remedied, then monetary fines, injunctions, or a trial can occur. 

It may take several months to resolve even minor violation and years to resolve a major one if it goes to litigation.   

Many communities proactively address potential violations by initiating a code enforcement campaign. This campaign is a program meant to improve compliance with zoning codes by making code inspection more proactive than reactive.  The City should periodically focus efforts on widespread or recurring issues, first with an information campaign, then notices to owners of property that are violating codes, and finally formal violation tickets, if necessary. Code officers can proactively establish personal relationships with property owners, tenants, and landlords.  This relationship allows code officers to more effectively work with offenders to determine how best to address and remedy the situation before the City is forced to take legal action. The end goal of the program should be compliance and a more attractive community, and code enforcement should not be looked at as a potential revenue stream for the City. 

Some communities have also established a separate department to handle less serious violations.  Establishing this department requires an operating budget for the department, additional code enforcement officers, and a code hearing officer to hear violations.



  • Reduced number of complaints. 
  • Reduced number of violations. 
  • Increased compliance without sending violation letters. 
  • Improved appearance of the community.



  1. Remove monetary fines from the Unified Development Ordinance and make them a separate fee ordinance. 
  2. Develop a pilot program to target a specific area or specific issue within the City for a 6-month time frame to gauge how successful the program can be. 
  3. Seek approval from City Council on pilot program. 
  4. Implement pilot program and monitor results, including number of existing violations prior to start of program, number of owners/tenants/landlords contacted, number of violations remedied, and the number of citations issued.



  1. If pilot program is successful, then implement through the larger City by breaking the City into different geographic regions were code officers would cover each region. 
  2. Hire additional code officers to implement program to ensure success.  
  3. Codify the program in the Unified Development Ordinance as an alternative process to code enforcement. 
  4. Study the feasibility of creating a Neighborhood and Business Services Bureau that could create a quicker remedy process rather than the City using the court system.



  • Planning Department 
  • Property Owners 
  • Business Owners 
  • Neighborhood Associations 
  • Tenants 
  • Landlords 
  • Plan Commission 
  • Common Council