The Hood River County Health Department conducted an HIA to examine the health impacts of rezoning 30 acres of former orchards to allow recreational development. The Hood River Valley Parks and Recreation District purchased the land in 2007. The land is zoned Exclusive Farm Use (EFU) and land use planning as well as potential health issues have restricted the development and use of the land. The HIA was conducted to inform decisions around granting variance to the zoning of the land. The HIA considered demographic information of potential users; community health-related needs and how recreational development could address these needs; and maximizing potential health benefits and minimizing potential health risks. The HIA made several recommendations, including soil testing prior to development and appropriate coordination with the Department of Environmental Quality, and continued monitoring for chemical residues during development. The HIA also recommended that the future recreational area include a variety of features to meet the identified health needs of the community. This includes open play fields, with picnic or other gathering areas nearby, accessible walking trails, and community gardens.
This Health Impact Assessment Report first appeared in The Cross-Sector Toolkit for Health. The Cross-Sector Toolkit for Health was originally developed by the Health Impact Project, formerly a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts. The creation of this resource was supported by a grant from the Health Impact Project. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Pew Charitable Trusts, or the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.