New Sutter hospital plan gets key approval toward fall start

SANTA ROSA  — Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa’s preliminary environment impact review for a new hospital near the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts has been unanimously recommended for certification  by the county Planning Commission.

The recommendation means Sutter’s drafted EIR will be forwarded to the county Board of Supervisors on Aug. 3, at which point the board will likely take a straw vote for approval, according to Scott Briggs, environment review division manager for the county Permit Resources and Management Department.

A tentative date of Aug. 24 has been set for final approval.

Sutter’s plan for the approximately 316,000-square-foot medical campus must also meet requirements spelled out in the Health Care Access Agreement brokered with the County Health and Human Services Department, which the Board of Supervisors will also consider on Aug. 3. The approval process for the EIR and Health Care Access Agreement are separate processes, and the Health and Human Services Department said it will hold hearings and focus groups between now and August on the matter before making a recommendation to the board.

“As we get to the Board of Supervisors, the two will converge,” Sutter spokeswoman Lisa Amador said. Sutter will be seeking permits from the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development for groundbreaking of the hospital in early October.

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