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Boulder County Comprehensive Plan Public Health Element BCCP-18-0003
Happy active family riding bikes in nature forest

The Boulder County Community Planning & Permitting office at 2045 13th St., Boulder is open to the public on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and on Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Appointments are available on Tuesday but are not required. Schedule an appointment.

BCCP-18-0003 - Comprehensive Plan Public Health Element addition

Docket BCCP-18-0003: Boulder County Comprehensive Plan Public Health Element Addition was approved by the Planning Commission on July 17, 2019.

View or download the Public Health Element

View Resolution PC-2019-01

Public Meetings and Hearings

Planning Commission Public Hearing, July 17, 2019

Land Use staff presented the draft elements to Planning Commission for review. After discussion and deliberation, the Planning Commission approved Docket BCCP-18-0003: Boulder County Comprehensive Plan Public Health Element Addition, incorporating the addition of the new Public Health element as proposed in Attachment A of the staff report, with the one minor amendment to PH 2.02 Outdoor Access and Programming to read as follows:

  • PH 2.02 Outdoor Access and Programming. Boulder County strives to understand and meet the preferences and needs of all visitors and residents for nature access and programming with particular attention to providing access and programming to historically marginalized, elderly, differently abled, young, and low-income populations.

Documents: Staff report for July 17, 2019

Board of County Commissioners public meeting, April 25, 2019

The Board of County Commissioners held a public meeting on the proposed new Public Health element for the Boulder County Comprehensive Plan. Information item only, public testimony was not taken at this time.
Documents: Staff report for April 25, 2019

Planning Commission public meeting, Dec. 19, 2018

Planning Commission held a public meeting on the proposed new Public Health element for the Boulder County Comprehensive Plan. Information item only, public testimony was not taken at this time.
Documents: Staff report to Planning Commission for Dec. 19, 2018

Open House for Boulder County Comprehensive Plan Public Health Element, Aug. 20, 2018

An open house to gather public input was held on August 20, 2018. The open house kicked-off the public process and provided an opportunity for public input and feedback on how to bolster existing strategies in the BCCP that support health, as well as identify new ways to improve health. The public is encouraged to continue providing input and feedback online through a comment form found below.


In 2017, a team of staff from the Boulder County Public Health and Land Use Departments began discussing the creation of a Public Health (PH) element to be incorporated into the Boulder County Comprehensive Plan (BCCP). Public Health staff began research on the topic later that year. In December 2017 Planning Commission expressed support for continued work toward developing a Public Health element. In 2018, Public Health and Land Use staff are working collaboratively to shape the new public health element.

The purpose of this element is to set forth the foundational document that outlines the county’s vision and values for the health of all county residents. These goals and policies will guide regulations, funding requests and program development by the county for the 21st century. Boulder County Public Health (BCPH) selects agency priorities every five years through a Community Health Assessment (CHA) process. The element will reflect feedback from CHA conducted in 2017 and BCPH’s agency priorities.

Other components of the BCCP already address topics related to public health, but this new element will assemble all public health-related content in one place while expanding the scope of public health topics previously addressed in the BCCP. The new public health element will explicitly link the built and natural environment and the health of residents, and establish a policy framework for supporting long-term strategies that impact behavior to enhance health outcomes. This public health element will reflect Boulder County’s commitment to ensure the opportunity for a healthy life for all residents and visitors.

The PH element will include three key components. It will reference existing goals and policies within the BCCP that support health and public health strategies. The purpose is to recognize existing elements and demonstrate public health’s holistic and collaborative mission. The element will also identify gaps in existing elements that could be bolstered to be more supportive of health and provide high-level goal, policy and strategy recommendations. As other BCCP elements are updated, there could be an opportunity to consider integrating public health best practices. Additionally, this element identifies new content areas that are not previously included in the BCCP yet impact the health of Boulder County residents. Feedback from BCPH’s CHA, the open house and online comments will inform this section.

Existing BCCP Elements that Support Health:

  • Environmental Resources
  • Transportation
  • Natural Hazards
  • Agriculture
  • Housing
  • Sustainability
  • Economics

Identified Gaps in Existing Elements and Proposed Additions to Bolster Public Health Impact:

  • Environmental Resources – Reference the physical and mental health impacts of open space, land use proposals, water and air quality.
  • Transportation- Explicitly support injury prevention projects and reference priorities in Vision Zero. Ensure adequate transportation for residents in rural and isolated mountain communities.
  • Natural Hazards – Link climate change and the effects on emergency management and how to mitigate the impacts of disasters (heat, vector-borne, drought, economic, environmental and sustainability impacts).
  • Agriculture – Support local food systems and community farming to ensure adequate food supplies to increase the county’s health and resiliency.
  • Housing – Ensure housing is strengthened as a social determinant of health. Housing was the runner up in Public Health’s community health assessment and is a clear community priority.
  • Sustainability – Includes linkages to climate change and health impacts.

Additional Public Health Content Areas:

  • Healthcare and Social Services Access- Ensure access for all residents, especially those in rural areas of the county.
  • Mental Health and Greenspace- Mental Health was selected by the community as BCPH’s 2018-2022 priority area. Mental Health can be linked to adequate open space and nature opportunities.
  • Reduce Youth and Adult Substance Abuse: Limit residents’ exposure to secondhand smoke and vapors and consider location and proximity of marijuana facilities to youth-facing buildings.
  • Mobile Home Park (MHP) protections to preserve them as affordable housing. This connects to the County’s Regional Affordable Housing Plan. Support existing MHP zoning protections and justify future anti-retaliation ordinances to ensure resident protection.
  • Water Quality- Ensure access to palatable and safe drinking water for all residents, regardless of public or private water supply.

Themes from Open House:

  • Climate change/greenhouse gases
  • Indoor air quality for housing
  • Prioritizing county lands for healthy and sustainable food production
  • Access to parks/open space for mental health
  • Sun/shade/water access on county properties
  • Greener/cleaner county purchasing
  • Transportation-vision zero, access to healthcare and services, and impacts on infrastructure
  • Heat/fire/smoke

Community Health Assessment

In 2017, Boulder County Public Health conducted a thorough assessment of the health of our county’s residents. Along with thorough analysis of demographic and health data, the assessment included conversations with groups of residents to ensure that the community perspective was included, particularly from those experiencing barriers to health (i.e. health inequities).

  • Conversations were facilitated with 53 resident groups (over 600 people) throughout the county
  • Groups represented populations facing barriers to health from various ages, races/ethnicities, income levels, and life experiences
  • Residents provided 3,021 ideas about things that could improve their health, marking 1,776 of these ideas as priorities
  • Ideas ranged from nutrition, to accessing health care, to racism.
  • Housing and mental health were identified as the top priorities

The top eight areas included:

  • Active Living & Environment
  • Social and Community
  • Affordability
  • Health Care
  • Housing
  • Healthy Eating
  • Mental Health
  • Environmental Quality

View the Community Health Assessment datasheets.

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Community Planning & Permitting (formerly the Land Use Dept.)

Email: Ask a Planner Form
Main: 303-441-3930

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2045 13th St.
Boulder, CO 80302


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Community Planning & Permitting
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Boulder, CO 80306
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