Revised plans for medical center still rankle neighbors
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
Jul 25, 2014 | 5082 views | 8 8 comments | 43 43 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Citizens meet with Sutter
David Romano, real estate consultant from the Modesto-based Newman-Romano, addressed a gathering of more than 20 Tracy residents about plans for a new Eaton Medical Plaza at 441 W. Eaton Ave. The community meeting took place July 17 at Sutter Tracy Community Hospital. Denise Ellen Rizzo/Tracy Press
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Sutter Gould Medical Foundation officials have introduced an update to its plans for a new medical facility at the site of Eaton Medical Plaza and plan to show them to the Tracy City Council in September.

According to David Romano, a real estate consultant for the project, the foundation has done as much as it can to respond to objections from the planning commission and neighbors.

“We’ve done a lot and tried to be responsive to the concerns we heard,” Romano said. “We listened to all the input, and we’ve tried to accommodate as many concerns as we can into the new plan.”

The previous development plan for 441 Eaton Ave. was rejected by the Tracy Planning Commission in late March. Sutter officials were scheduled to go before the City Council to appeal the decision May 20, but they withdrew on the day of the meeting.

On July 17, project representatives had a third neighborhood meeting at Sutter Tracy Community Hospital.

At the meeting, Romano said that the foundation had reconfigured its plans, adding brickwork and columns to the façade of the proposed Sutter Tracy Care Center to help it blend into the neighborhood and moving the building a total of 49 feet from the residential properties to the east — five feet farther than previously planned.

But the majority of the more than two dozen residents at the meeting still objected to the plans to level the existing two-story, 29,000-square-foot plaza and build a two-story, 45,000-square-foot building on what is now a tree-shaded parking lot.

“This building is not designed for this site,” resident Pete Mitracos, who also serves on the planning commission, said. “We expect you to honor and respect our (city) general plan. At the minimum, it needs to be on the corner (of Bessie and West Eaton avenues).”

Romano said the planners wanted to place the new building on the eastern side of the lot to balance the “operations and functionality of the facility.”

Members of the community were worried about added traffic, among other concerns.

“You will have three times as much medical activity, three times as many doctors and three times as many patients,” said Mary Mitracos, who is married to Pete Mitracos.

“It’s simple math,” area resident Bethany Neal said. “This neighborhood in Tracy made me feel like I was home. I’m heartbroken. I’m concerned with the neighborhood feel.”

Jim Noah said he had lived on Wall Street for more than 50 years and had seen increasing congestion in the area, which is home to two schools, three churches and other businesses.

“You still have traffic that gets worse every day,” he said. “I’m not for it. I will do whatever it takes to stop this project.”

Romano pointed out that the site was zoned for medical businesses and said foundation officials believed it was the right location.

One woman who lives nearby said that she and others feared that the hospital would eventually move to a new site and the center would be abandoned. She said that would leave the neighborhood “holding the bag with this building.”

“We’re not saying, ‘Not in my backyard,’” she said. “We’re saying it doesn’t work in the neighborhood. You’re imposing it on us, and it affects all of us personally.”

A couple of people said they liked the new brick façade of the building, but they still felt the larger medical center did not belong there.

Romano said that Sutter officials expected to present their plans to the city soon and would schedule a hearing before the City Council sometime in September.

After the meeting, Freddie Berna, a resident of the neighborhood, said, “I think they are beating around the bush and they’re going to do it one way or another. I think our voice is not being heard.”

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at or 830-4225.

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July 28, 2014
would love to see the comments by the posters in favor if it were THEIR neigborhood...

no, we do NOT have the ability to "be able to build a 50 story sky scraper that runs right up to the edge of their property if they so choose" and thank god for that inability. There are things called zoning laws...and yes, that property is zoned medical...however, there is a huge difference between a large medical complex and a doctor's office. I don't know the exact zoning, but the amount of increased traffic on that block could be insane.

fact of the matter is, Sutter will do what it wants because it can pay off those that make the decisions. we worship the dollar in this nation at this point...and those with the most money win.

it's disgusting...the guise of "talking to the neighbors" to make it all better...while dozing the homes it bought after being denied a parking lot in their place. gee...what a shock.

and yea...definitely we need more docs...maybe some more beauty salons and tattoo parlors too...

get Sutter to make a green space out of the homes they dozed...then maybe redoing the perfectly good existing building could be an option.
July 28, 2014
Comparing a hospital and the services they provide to Hair Salons and Tattoo Parlors is as stupid as the poster who commented "50 story sky scraper".

If a business or a person buys a house and decides to tear it down, that is their prerogative. Move to a neighborhood with an HOA if you want better control on the homes around you.

The area is zoned medical and for our growing community needs a bigger and better hospital should be built.

July 31, 2014
actually, it isn't just that cannot do "whatever they want" with their home. Want to put in a pool? get a permit and jump through the hoops. want to do solar? get a permit and jump through the hoops. granted, once approved you CAN do what you want...IF approved.

I'm not going to argue further on this topic, because I'm not stupid enough to beat my head against a stone wall...those who don't live near the neighborhood are all for it...those who will endure the construction, traffic, increased flow...don't want it. you do the math.

our growing community needs leaders that can plan the community instead of moving along like bulls in china shops building and tearing down all willy-nilly. If we need a bigger and better hospital, destroying the community is NOT the best way to do it. There are plenty of places to put a new hospital...the middle of a well-established residential community is not necessarily the best.

and gee...wonder how much it costs a corporation to get whatever zoning they want. I know of a business that tried to get a house converted to commercial...note the word "tried."

the comparison was over the plethora of drs in the area...not stupid
July 25, 2014
What a good neighbor Sutter is! To take the time to gather community input and try to work with the wishes of the residents, is above and beyond what most businesses would do. It's clear that the approximately "two dozen" folks won't agree with any re-configurations proposed, and they are of course entitled to their freedom of speech. I don't believe that they speak to the needs of majority in this town. Tracy needs more physicians and specialists, and recruiting quality providers can't happen with a dilapidated Eaton building. The proposed building would actually beautify the neighborhood! What's unclear is how Council will respond to the information at hand. They may need to hear more support from the community to make it happen. More doctors, services, and job opportunities in Tracy sound like a good idea to me!
July 25, 2014
First of all The area is zoned for medical for facilities, Sutter owns the property and the project would bring more Doctors and specialists to Tracy. We do not have enough physicians and people are forced to stay over the hill or go to Stockton for treatment. It will be a sad case if these handful of residents manage to pull the plug on a project that could benefit thousands. lets ask the other 80,000 living in our community how they feel about the possibility of having expanded services. Sutter has been instrumental in the progress and services provided for families in Tracy. The one time they ask for support from their community they are getting painted as some kind of uncaring corporation. This is one of our most valuable NONPROFITS that seeks to expand access to health for its community. some how this quote from one of the protesters is supposed to highlight a bad thing “You will have three times as much medical activity, three times as many doctors and three times as many patients,”??? This reminds me of the same attitude that came from the residents that axed the purchase of a woman's center shelter (mind you funded by Sutter) and the Men's homeless shelter that was almost a
July 25, 2014
cont..and the Men's homeless shelter that was almost axed (also financially supported by Sutter). WHO are these evil evil entities that are trying to run a self interest initiative under the mask of charity, selflessness, and health for the residents of Tracy..that was sarcasm by the way.
July 25, 2014
I have to agree. If the hospital owns the land then they can build on it. I don't see a huge issue here. They want to tear down an old two story buiding and put up a new two story building. As to the arguement that if the hospital moves someday the neighbors will be stuck with an unused building,well, the same would happen with the existing building. I guarantee that it will be easier to sell or rent a newer building with modern ammenities than it will to sell or rent the older building that is there now.
July 25, 2014
I don't get what the debate here is about? Does the hospital own the land that it plans to build on? Assuming it does then what exactly is all the whining about? Its their property, they should be able to build a 50 story sky scraper that runs right up to the edge of their property if they so choose. I suspect the residents would have a very different view of things if the tables were turned and nearby businesses were preventing them from building a shed or some such thing in their own yard out of fear that it would look ugly to customers.

Simple concept here: if it is your property you should have absolute control over what you do with it. If its not, then you have no basis to complain about what the owner does with it.

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