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Building Department

Jeff Houston
Mailing: PO Box 530
Jefferson City, TN 37760
Phone: 865-475-9071
Fax: 865-475-8224
Jefferson City Fire Department
Chief, Robert Lee Turner, Jr.
104 City Center Drive
Jefferson City, TN 37760
The Jefferson City Building Department is responsible for issuing building permits, performing inspections, and maintaining the codes established by the city government. The Building Department and Jefferson City Police Department work together to make sure building codes are adhered to. Together, these two departments make sure building and zoning laws are followed and unkempt properties are maintained so that the Jefferson City community can retain its appeal and safety.
Building Permit Procedure
The following must be submitted to the Building Department along with the appropriate fees to apply for a Building Permit.
  1. Click Here to create an account and complete permit application here. Fees, Inspection Scheduling, and permit tracking can also be found. 
  2. When required by the Building Official, two (2) complete sets (hard copies) delivered to Building Dept., for Residential and four (4) complete sets (hard copies) for Commercial, along with electronic submittal of drawings showing the footings, foundation, framing, plumbing, mechanical, electrical, and elevations showing size and heights of proposed building. All drawings shall be of sufficient clarity and detail to indicate the nature and character of the work. The Building Official may require details, computations, stress diagrams, and other data necessary to describe the work being performed. All drawings, specifications, and accompanying data required by the Building Official that are prepared by an architect or engineer shall be affixed with their official seal. Note: All Commercial Projects require plans designed by a Registered Design Professional.
  3. A site plan shall be drawn showing proposed building(s), setback, parking, and any other requirements per city zoning ordinance or building codes. The Building Official may require a boundary line survey prepared by a qualified surveyor.
  4. Copy of Workers Compensation Insurance or signed copy of the Affidavit of Exemption. A copy of Contractors License and a list of all sub-contractors with licenses numbers and workers compensation papers.
  5. These items must be in the office of the Building Official before a permit is issued. An average of seven (7) days is expected for reviewing the plans (based on current submittals) before a permit is issued. Any other information requested by the Building Official must be in the office of the Building Official prior to obtaining a Building Permit. Approval of a Building Permit does not constitute conformity with any restrictive covenants or certify compliance with the Americans with Disability Act.
Sign Permits

The Building Department of Jefferson City regulates the types and sizes of all signs in the city. Permits are required for all temporary and permanent signs prior to installation. This is to ensure all signs follow regulations regarding construction, placement, and size. For each sign you would like to install, you must fill out a sign permit and pay the applicable fee.
Codes Enforcement

Codes enforcement ensures properties meet minimum standards to protect the lives and well-being of the citizens of Jefferson City. This includes enforcing codes and ordinances regarding health and sanitation, unsafe structures, home occupancy, overgrown lots, sign regulations, stagnant water, and inoperative motor vehicles. The Jefferson City Police Department handles the enforcement of codes and has the authority to issue fines and penalties for the violation of codes and city ordinances.


The Jefferson City Planning Commission oversees the plans for the physical development of Jefferson City. Find out more about the Planning Commission here.

The Jefferson City Historic Zoning Commission encourages the preservation of historic sites in the city. Find out more about the Historic Zoning Commission and its members.

Jefferson City Housing Authority operates income-based and flat rent units located in Jefferson City, TN. Check out the JCHA website to learn more or to apply for housing.

Most Commonly Violated Ordinances

No person, firm, or corporation shall cut trees for hire in Jefferson City without first filing an application with the recorder on a form provided by the municipality and paying the sum of two dollars ($2.00) for a permit to engage in said occupation, which permit shall be for a period of one (1) year and shall be renewable annually on the anniversary date of the permit. In addition, a returnable deposit shall be made with the recorder in the amount of twenty-five dollars ($25.00) to insure the removal of all trees as required in § 9-502. (1996 Code, § 5-601)
Any person, firm, or corporation within the corporate limits of Jefferson City cutting or trimming trees for compensation shall remove all cuttings, limbs, laps, and debris resulting from said work and deposit such in an appropriate manner outside the corporate limits. (1996 Code, § 5-602)
It shall be unlawful for any person to permit or cause the escape of such quantities of dense smoke, soot, cinders, noxious acids, fumes, dust, or gases as to be detrimental to or to endanger the health, comfort, and safety of the public or so as to cause or have a tendency to cause injury or damage to property or business. (1996 Code, § 8-105)
It shall be unlawful for any person knowingly to allow any pool of stagnant water to accumulate and stand on his property without treating it so as effectively to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes. (1996 Code, § 8-106)
Every owner or tenant of property shall periodically cut the grass and other vegetation commonly recognized as weeds on his property, and it shall be unlawful for any person to fail to comply with an order by the city code enforcement officer to cut such vegetation when it has reached a height of over one (1) foot. (Ord. #99-19, Dec. 1999)
(1) (a) Property owners are required to maintain their property in such a manner as to not endanger the health, safety, or welfare of other citizens.
(b) If it is determined by the city manager, or his designee, that any owner of record of real property has created, maintained, or permitted to be maintained on such property the growth of trees, vines, grass, underbrush and/or the accumulation of debris, trash, litter, or garbage or any combination of the preceding elements so as to endanger the health, safety, or welfare of other citizens or to encourage the infestation of rats and other harmful animals, the city manager, or his designee, shall provide notice to the owner of record to remedy the condition immediately. The notice shall be given by United States mail, addressed to the last known address of the owner of record. The notice shall state that the owner of the property is entitled to a hearing. The notice shall be written in plain language and shall also include but not be limited to the following elements:
(i) A brief statement of this section shall contain the consequences of failing to remedy the noted condition;
(ii) The person, office, address, and telephone number of the department or person giving notice;
(iii) A cost estimate for remedying the noted condition which shall be in conformity with the standards of cost in the community; and
(iv) A place wherein the notified party may return a copy of the notice, indicating the desire for a hearing.
(c) If the person fails or refuses to remedy the condition within ten (10) days after receiving the notice, the city manager, or his designee, shall immediately cause the condition to be remedied or removed as a cost in conformity with reasonable standards and the cost thereof assessed against the owner of the property. Upon the filing of the notice with the office of the register of deeds of Jefferson County, Tennessee, the costs shall be a lien on the property, as provided in Tennessee Code Annotated, § 6-54-113, in favor of Jefferson City, second only to liens of the state, county, or city for taxes, any lien of the city for special assessments and 13-3 any valid lien, right, or interest in such property duly recorded or duly perfected by filing, prior to the filing of such notice. These costs shall be placed on the tax rolls of Jefferson City as a lien and shall be added to property tax bills to be collected at the same time and in the same manner as property taxes are collected. If the owner fails to pay the costs, they may be collected at the same time and in the same manner as delinquent property taxes are collected and shall be subject to the same penalty and interest as delinquent property taxes.
If the person who is the owner of record is a carrier engaged in the transportation of property or is a utility transmitting communications, electricity, gas, liquids, steam, sewerage, or other materials, the ten-day period of the first sentence of this subsection shall be twenty (20) days, excluding Saturdays, and legal holidays.
(d) The city manager, or his designee, shall be charged with the responsibility for administration and enforcement of this section. Upon request of the person aggrieved by the determination made pursuant to subsection (b), a hearing shall be conducted by the city manager. A request for a hearing shall be made within ten (10) days following the receipt of the notice issued pursuant to subsection (b). Failure to make the request within this time shall without exception constitute a waiver of the right to a hearing.
Any person aggrieved by an order or act of the city manager, or his designee, may seek judicial review of the order or act. The time period established in subsection (c) shall be stayed during the pendency of a hearing.
(e) The provisions of this section shall not apply to any parcel of property upon which an owner-occupied residence is located.
(2) Service fee for lot mowing. (a) Payment rates for said services shall be two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00) per hour with a minimum payment of one hundred twenty-five dollars ($125.00).
(b) Mowing services shall be charged in thirty (30) minute time periods, with any portion of a period charged as a full 30 minutes.
(c) A deposit shall be given to the city recorder in the amount of thirty-five dollars ($35.00) in advance of any such mowing services. (1996 Code, § 8-107, as amended by Ord. #99-19, Dec. 1999)
Any person owning or having possession of any dead animal not intended for use as food shall promptly bury the same or notify the health officer and dispose of such animal in such manner as the health officer shall direct. (1996 Code, § 8-108)
It is unlawful for any person to permit any premises owned, occupied, or controlled by him to become or remain in a filthy condition, or permit the use or occupation of same in such a manner as to create noxious or offensive smells and odors in connection therewith, or to allow the accumulation or creation of unwholesome and offensive matter or the breeding of flies, rodents, or other vermin on the premises to the menace of the public health or the annoyance of people residing within the vicinity. (1996 Code, § 8-109)
It is unlawful for any person to park, locate, or occupy any house trailer or portable building unless it complies with all plumbing, electrical, sanitary, and building provisions applicable to stationary structures and the proposed location conforms to the zoning provisions of the city and unless a permit therefor shall have been first duly issued by the building official, as provided for in the building code. (1996 Code, § 8-104)
Junked yards are prohibited within the corporate limits of Jefferson City and it shall be unlawful for an owner or occupant of property within the corporate limits to maintain a junked yard as defined herein. A junked yard is: a yard, tract, or lot within the corporate limits which has debris, litter, garbage (bagged or unbagged, including food products), household items (such as refrigerators or other appliances, furniture, upholstery, cabinets, bathroom or kitchen fixtures, etc.), paper products, construction materials (such as wood, boards, pipes, brick, etc.), cloth or clothing strewn about or piled in public view whether in a yard, carport visible to the public, or porch area. (as added by Ord. #2001-15, Feb. 2002)

(1) Definitions. The following definitions shall apply in the interpretation and enforcement of this section:

(a) “Antique.” Any vehicle over 25 years old.

(b) “Demolisher.” Any person whose business is to convert a motor vehicle into processed scrap or scrap metal, or otherwise to wreck
or dismantle a motor vehicle.

(c) “Junked vehicle.” Any vehicle which is wrecked, dismantled, partially dismantled, or discarded.

(d) “Person.” Any person or individual, firm, organization, partnership, association, corporation or company of any kind.

(e) “Property.” Any real property within Jefferson City, Tennessee, which is not a public right-of-way.

(f) “Shall.” The word “shall” is mandatory and not merely directory.

(g) “Vehicle.” Any machine propelled other than by human power which is designed to travel along the ground by use of wheels, treads, runners, or slides, and transports persons or property and shall include, and not be limited to, automobiles, trucks/trailers, motorcycles, tractors, mobile homes, or motor homes.

(2) Location or presence of junked vehicles within the city deemed public nuisance; exceptions. The location or presence of any junked vehicle or junked vehicles on any lot, tract, parcel of land or portion thereof, occupied or unoccupied, improved or unimproved, within Jefferson City, shall be deemed a public nuisance, and it shall be unlawful for any person or persons to cause or maintain such public nuisance by wrecking, dismantling, rendering inoperable, abandoning or discarding his or their vehicle or vehicles on property, or to allow or permit the same to be placed, located, maintained or exist upon his or their own real property; provided that this section shall not apply to:

(a) Any vehicle in operable condition specifically adapted or constructed for racing or operation on privately owned dragstrips or raceways;

(b) Any antique retained and maintained by the owner for collection purposes other than for salvage or for transportation. Such vehicle shall be maintained in operable condition and at the discretion of the authority with jurisdiction be required to comply with item (c) of subsection (2) of this chapter.

(c) Any junked vehicle kept within a building where it will not be visible from the street;

(d) Any junked vehicle in an appropriate storage place or depository maintained at a location designated and approved by Jefferson City.

(3) Removal of junked vehicles required. (a) The accumulation and storage of one or more such vehicles in violation of the provision of this chapter shall constitute rubbish and unsightly debris and a nuisance and may be detrimental to the health, safety, and general welfare of the inhabitants of Jefferson City.

(b) It shall be the duty of the registered owner of such vehicle and it shall also be the duty of the person in charge of control of the property upon which such junked vehicle is located, whether owner, tenant, occupant, lessee, or otherwise, to remove the vehicle to a place of lawful storage or to have the vehicle housed within a building where it will not be visible from a public right-of-way.

(4) Notification and authority. (a) Whenever any such public nuisance exists on occupied or unoccupied, commercial or residential, private or public property within Jefferson City, the owner or owners of said property shall be notified by the city manager or his authorized agent to abate or remove the nuisance. The notification shall:

(i) Be in writing,

(ii) Specify the public nuisance and its location,

(iii) Specify any corrective measures that can be taken, and

(iv) State that compliance must be provided within ten (10) days of receipt of the notification.

(b) The notification shall be served upon the owner or owners of said premises by serving them personally or by sending said notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, to their address as shown on the current tax rolls of Jefferson City. If the owner or owners of the premises fail to or refuse to comply with the order of the city manager or his authorized agent within a ten (10) day period after notification, such failure or refusal to remove the nuisance shall be deemed a violation of the provisions of this chapter and said owner or owners shall be subject to the penalties provided within this chapter.

(c) If the owner or owners of the vehicle or premises upon which the junked vehicle lies fail or refuse to comply with the order of the city manager or his authorized agent within a ten (10) day period after notification, the city manager and/or his authorized agent may enter upon said property, take possession of junked vehicle or vehicles and remove the same from said property. Upon completion of such removal, any reasonable costs incurred, plus 15 percent for inspection and other incidental costs for correction purposes, shall be paid by the owner or owners of said property to Jefferson City and said costs shall be billed to said owner or owners accordingly. If the bill is not fully paid to the city within sixty (60) days after receipt of the bill, a ten (10) percent penalty shall be added to the balance due. The costs and penalty shall be placed on the tax roll of Jefferson City as a lien upon the property and collected in the same manner as other city taxes are collected.

(5) Authority to enforce. The city manager and/or his authorized agent(s) may enter upon private property for the purposes specified in the ordinance in order to examine vehicles or parts thereof, obtain information as to identity of vehicle(s) and remove or cause to remove the vehicle or parts of a vehicle declared a public nuisance.

(6) Nuisances on public thoroughfares. Nothing in this chapter shall affect other ordinances or procedures that allow for the removal of vehicles left on public property or which constitute obstruction to traffic within the city.

(7) Penalty. Upon conviction for violation of any provisions of this chapter relating to the maintaining of a public nuisance as described herein or in permitting or allowing such public nuisance to exist, such violator shall be punished by a fine not to exceed fifty (50) dollars and each day that such nuisance shall continue after the time for removal as herein provided shall constitute a separate offense.

(8) Full force and effect. If any section or part of any section or paragraph of this section is declared invalid or unconstitutional for any reason, it shall not invalidate or impair the validity, force, or effect of any other section or sections or part of a section or paragraph in this chapter. (1996 Code, § 9-128)

All persons, firms, and corporations within the corporate limits of the City of Jefferson City are hereby required to keep their premises in a clean and sanitary condition, free from accumulation of refuse, garbage, offal, filth, and trash. All such persons, firms, and corporations are hereby required to store such refuse in sanitary containers of the type described in this chapter between intervals of collection or to dispose of such material in a manner prescribed by the city manager or his representative so as not to cause a nuisance or become injurious to the public health and welfare. (1996 Code, § 8-401)

Each owner, occupant, tenant, sub-tenant, Ace, or others using or occupying any building, house, structure, or grounds within the City of Jefferson City, where refuse materials or substances as defined in this chapter accumulate, shall provide an adequate number of suitable containers of a type approved by the health officer, for the storage for such refuse. Such containers shall be constructed of metal, and shall be strong and durable, rodent and insect proof, not readily corrodible, and shall have a capacity not exceeding thirty (30) gallons. Smaller containers may be used if they are of sufficient capacity adequately to meet the requirements. Such containers shall be equipped with handles to facilitate emptying and shall be equipped with tight fitting lids or covers constructed of the same material and of such design as to preclude the container from collecting water during rains. The lid or cover shall be kept in place at all times except when refuse is being deposited therein or removed therefrom by an official collector. The storage containers shall be placed in such convenient, accessible locations for trucking as may be designated by the official refuse collecting agency.

Wet garbage or refuse must be drained of all liquids prior to placing into a storage receptacle. The containers shall be thoroughly cleaned by washing or other methods as necessary to prevent the breeding of flies and the occurrence of offensive odors. (1996 Code, § 8-403)

In no case will it be the responsibility of the refuse collecting agency of the city to shovel or pick up from the ground any accumulations of refuse including leaves, lawn clippings, brush, and packing material. All such materials are to be placed in containers of the type described in  § 17-103 or of a type and design which will meet with the approval of the health officer and the requirements of the collecting agency. (1996 Code, § 8-405)
It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation to dump refuse in any form into any stream, ditch, storm sewer, sanitary sewer, or other drain within the City of Jefferson City. (1996 Code, § 8-408)
It shall be unlawful for any person to deposit garbage or refuse into city owned bulk trash collection units unless authorized to do so by the city manager or his designee. The city manager or his designee is authorized to cause appropriate signage to be posted on or near the trash collection units. (as added by Ord. #2005-3, May 2005)
It shall be unlawful for any person to transport or cause to be transported garbage or refuse into the city for the purpose of depositing such refuse on or in any street, sidewalk, gutter, park or other public property within the city. This provision shall in no way prohibit city residents from disposing of their household garbage and refuse curbside in accordance with the provisions of this code. (as added by Ord. #2005-3, May 2005)
If any object of litter or refuse, or a garbage container enclosing an object of litter or refuse, is found on private property without the property owner’s permission or upon any public property or in any city owned trash collection receptacle, and such object bears a person’s name, it shall be prima facie evidence that the person whose name appears in the object caused it to be thrown, dumped or deposited there. (as added by Ord. #2005-3, May 2005)