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Late 1860s brick building in Davisville

Sutter Tree Removal Approval Is Disturbing

Sutter lot

I was greatly disturbed to learn that the Planning Commission has given Sutter Davis Hospital the green light to remove 205 mature trees from its parking lots, ostensibly to make room for solar panels. While producing renewable energy is critically important, it does not need to be done at the expense of existing trees, which have been providing shade, habitat and health-promoting natural beauty for years. Instead Sutter should demonstrate responsible environmental leadership by installing solar panels on its abundant flat rooftops and other largely treeless sections of its property. The City Council should reject the Planning Commission's blanket approval of this misguided project, about which neither the Tree Commission nor Tree Davis were consulted, and insist that this and all future proposals of this type receive robust public review and discussion. 

Janet Krovoza



Todd Edelman

Some things at hospitals need to be absolutely sterile, but the spaces around them shouldn't be. Please take note that I use "spaces", rather than parking lots. In earlier comments on this story in the Davisite, I've already taken issue with the hospital parking philosophy, so to continue: I don't recall "free parking" at many other large medical centers in California, and there's no justification for it here either. While at least some parking is validated - at e.g. UCDMC in Sac - it's also much more dense at that location compared to Sutter Davis. What if in Davis Sutter was required to build multi-level parking? A three story building would take roughly 1/3 at much space... they'd also try to build as little of it as possible. At $10k per space, they'd find it more ecomomically-interesting to subsidize bus and even ride hailing.

So yeah, the starting point is wrong. Too much land for parking and few transportation options. I've driven there and parked: While 205 trees is 205 too many, most of the lots have very little tree coverage, which you understand well when parking here on a sunny day.

In Berlin I recall an urban hospital located along a park on a canal: Semi-ambulatory patients would walk around this area holding onto their rolling IV stands. It was normal to see. When I recovered from surgery at Sutter, I walked up and down the halls with my IV.

In sum: Build a multi-story parking structure, return the freed-up land to nature and many more trees, add solar only to as many roof areas as possible, add transit and ride hailing, subsidize e-bikes for employees.

Image for my comment: High-level management meeting at Sutter Davis - participants look out the window at a couple rushing to the birthing center as trees are being cut down around them....

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