‘Health element’ of county growth plan almost ready

Specifics will be shared at April 10 community forum

By Marissa Harshman, Columbian health reporter



If you go

Who: Clark County Public Health Advisory Council.

What: Community presentation on planning recommendations proposed for comprehensive growth management plan to improve the health of county residents.

When: 4-5:30 p.m. April 10.

Where: Vancouver Community Library, Columbia Room, 901 C St.

Information: Clark County Public Health.

After years of planning for a healthier Clark County, officials are now ready to unveil their proposal to the community and stakeholders.

More than two years ago, county health and planning officials launched a collaborative effort to draft a health element for the county’s comprehensive growth management plan. In the coming weeks, county officials will share the proposal with the community, the Clark County Planning Commission and the Clark County Board of Commissioners.

State law requires the county to have a growth management plan, but the plan is not required to have a chapter dedicated to health. The county has other elements in the plan that are not required by state law, such as chapters on schools and economic development.

The health element is centered around the basic premise that the built environment impacts health.

The health element plan is divided into eight categories: transportation; food; safety and social connections; housing; parks; climate change; environment; and economics. The plan includes literature reviews of other communities, current conditions in Clark County and recommendations for policies to promote health and minimize harm for each of the eight categories.

Health department staffers have held several community forums to present health chapter information and gather feedback. A community presentation on

April 10 will be the first time the forum includes specifics on the policy recommendations aimed to improve public health, said Jonnie Hyde, healthy communities manager for the county.

Prior to the community event, county staff will present the health element to the commissioners and planning commission. The planning commission will hold a public hearing on the health element at 6:30 p.m. April 19 at the Public Service Center.

Assuming the planning commission gives the project a thumbs up, the proposal will then be forwarded to the county’s planning department for incorporation into the comprehensive growth management plan, Hyde said.

The health element, and the entire comprehensive growth management plan, will go to the county commissioners for final approval.

Marissa Harshman: 360-735-4546; http://twitter.com/col_health;http://facebook.com/reporterharshman;marissa.harshman@columbian.com.