Urban Agriculture Overlay District Health Impact Assessment

Location
Cleveland, Ohio
Organization(s)
Cleveland Planning Commission, partnering with Cuyahoga County Board of Health, Saint Lukes Foundation, Cleveland Department of Public Health

The Urban Agriculture overlay district is a proposed piece of legislation that will introduce intense farm uses in an urbanized environment that will include livestock, community gardens, hoop houses, market gardens, and Community gardens. Although many of the proposed uses that this zoning district will allow are perceived to have positive impacts on human health such as access to fresh fruits and vegetables, community cohesion through the establishment of gardens, potential economic opportunities, and providing a productive reuse of vacant land. There are unintended adverse impacts to human health that include increase animal waste caused by farm animals, potential exposure to carcinogens created by insecticides, and increases in noise and odor levels.

The HIA sought to examine the legislation in a way that highlighted the unintended impacts and make recommendations to mitigate them. Upon completion of the HIA, the team presented the information to our city council health committee with recommendations for amendments to the pending legislation.

Outcome

The HIA is providing local officials with an organized approach for considering health impacts in a thoughtful and careful way.