'Crepes On Cole' Temporarily Closes To Improve Accessibility

Crepes on Cole has closed temporarily to renovate after the restaurant was sued for violating Title 3 of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Last spring, restaurant owner Hail Jwainat was sued by Francisca Moralez in California Northern District Court on the grounds she'd been denied her right of access under the ADA. The suit was settled before trial in May 2017.

Among other changes, Crepes on Cole is lowering the height of its front counter, moving a rack for used dishes to ensure rest room access and will reconfigure the station where utensils and coffee items are kept.

Each year, many businesses around the city settle similar "drive-by" lawsuits filed by individuals who work with lawyers. In 2016, District 4 Supervisor Katy Tang conducted a merchant walk in the Outer Sunset to advise merchants about a new city ordinance that offered extra time to comply with ADA requirements.

The Accessible Business Entrance program (ABE) requires businesses with public accommodations to maintain primary entrances that are ADA-compliant or obtain "a determination of equivalent facilitation, technical infeasibility, or unreasonable hardship" from the city.

The same rule created the Department of Building Inspection's new Disability Access Compliance Unit, which requires landlords to notify commercial tenants of required ADA fixes. Additionally, merchants can hire a Certified Access Specialist (CASp) to create a compliance checklist of required improvements.

Merchants who've obtained a CASp report--which includes a recommended timeline for removing barriers--can ask a court to delay ADA lawsuits for 90 days, under city law.

The Department of Building Inspection hosted its first seminar on the new ABE rules today; although the event sold out, more seminars are expected in the future. (Sign up to be notified here.)