[caption id="attachment_20384" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Artist rendering of the proposed Sutter Health hospital north of Santa Rosa. The physician-owned facility would be built next to the hospital. (click to enlarge)"][/caption]

SANTA ROSA -- Sutter Health’s plan for a new hospital on the northern outskirts of the city cleared a major hurdle this evening, as the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors gave a nod to the proposed hospital.

After two and a half hours of testimony, the board voted 5-0 in support of certifying the project environmental impact report and approving the General Plan amendment and use permits to allow the hospital to be built next to the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts. 

A final vote is set for Aug. 24.

Sutter said it would begin construction on the 82-bed, $284 million hospital in October once the final plan is approved. The hospital is set to open by 2014.

In the meantime, the county Health Care Access Agreement, which contains standards for the new hospital, is expected to come back to the board for a vote Aug. 17. In early July, the county Department of Health and Human Services said Sutter’s plan likely would meet such requirements and urged the board to back the plan.

The new medical campus would have more than 300,000 square feet of space. That includes the two-story acute care hospital and surgery center, room for a 27-bed addition and a three-story medical office building.

The complex would replace Sutter's seismically unsafe Chanate Road facility. It would have to close in 2012, but that can be extended to 2014 if construction of a new campus starts this year.

Sacramento-based health provider purchased the 25-acre lot off of Mark West Springs Road for $10 million in 2006 from the Luther Burbank Foundation.