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Missing chairs, tables cook up fine for waterfront restaurants

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Two popular Embarcadero restaurants are being fined thousands of dollars for failing to provide accommodations for the public along the waterfront, including tables and chairs.

The Epic Roasthouse and Waterbar restaurants, which garnered attention last year for being the first establishments built entirely for dining purposes in San Francisco in more than a century, don’t have enough benches and seating arrangements on their patio.

Access to the patio is required since it lies on the Bay Trail — a 240-mile, multicounty shoreline walk that must be fully accessible to the public.

The Bay Conservation and Development Commission, the regional body in charge of permitting on the shoreline, first fined JMA Waterfront Properties, the group backing the restaurants, in May 2008, for public access violations totaling $16,800.

The two restaurants, located about one block north of the Bay Bridge on the Embarcadero, have patios for diners as well as nearly 3,500 square feet on their outdoor patio designated for public use. Only two tables are present in the public area, according to BCDC documents.

“There are a lot of people that walk by that place, either on their way to the Ferry Building or to AT&T Park,” said Tim Eichenberg, chief counsel for the BCDC. “It’s a very beautiful spot with a lot of foot traffic, and right now there isn’t enough out there to accommodate the public.”

After meeting with representatives of JMA earlier this year, BCDC agreed to reduce its fine from $16,800 to $15,000. Of that total, $6,000 will go toward purchasing four tables and 16 chairs to be placed in front of Epic and Waterbar. If that task is completed within four months, $2,000 of the fine will be waived, Eichenberg said, bringing the total to be paid down to $7,000.

The BCDC board of directors will vote today on approving the fine amount.

Calls to JMA for comment were not returned. Eichenberg said the group has been very cooperative with the BCDC since the fines were reported.

JMA oversaw the construction of the two waterfront restaurants, which together cost around $20 million to build.

The Bay Trail, created in 1989, will one day account for 500 miles of shoreline pathways in the region, connecting nearly 50 cities in nine counties.

Costly problem

Two Embarcadero restaurants have been fined for reportedly not furnishing the proper amenities required for public use, such as seating, on their property. The breakdown of the fine:

$16,800 Original fine

$15,000 Agreed lower fine

$6,000 Amount to be used toward purchasing four tables and 16 chairs

$2,000 Amount that could be waived if task is completed within four months

$7,000 Total left to be paid for fine

wreisman@sfexaminer.com