Judge weighs arguments in Sutter hospital project lawsuit

[caption id="attachment_20384" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Construction of the $284 million Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa started last fall and is set to open in 2014. (click to enlarge)"][/caption]

SANTA ROSA -- A Sonoma County judge today heard arguments in a lawsuit filed to stop construction of Sutter Health's $284 million hospital next to the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts north of Santa Rosa.

Superior Court judge Rene Chouteau heard the arguments from attorneys for Sutter Health and the North Sonoma County Healthcare District, which oversees Healdsburg District Hospital and was the lead party bringing the suit. The suit questions the scope of the project as it relates to licensed beds, greenhouse gas emissions and employment figures.

A ruling is expected within the next few months.

Attorneys with Shute, Mihlay & Weinberger, representing the health care district, argued that the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors erred in certifying the environmental impact report on Sutter's forthcoming hospital. The report fails to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, they assert.

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