The restaurant at White Rock Lake is not a done deal, and other facts getting lost in the debate

Boy Scout Hil at White Rock Lake: Danny Fulgencio
Boy Scout Hill at White Rock Lake: Danny Fulgencio

As we’ve reported, an unofficial proposal is being discussed about building a restaurant on White Rock Lake’s Boy Scout Hill. The idea has sparked outrage among some neighbors and with it various petitions and a wealth of misinformation.

“I’m leaning with the neighborhoods. That’s not to say it wouldn’t be a good idea.” — Councilman Sheffie Kadane

The developers, Lyle Burgin and Richard Kopf, met with members of Lake Park Estates last week. We’ll have a full report on that, but first, let’s clear up a few rumors circulating out there.

This is not a done deal.

The developers will spend the next few months meeting with about 30 neighborhood organizations around the lake. By this fall, they hope to embark on the lengthy city process, drafting a formal proposal and attempting to pass it through these channels:

White Rock Task Force > Parks Board > City Plan Commission > City Council

The biggest hurdle is likely that first one, the White Rock Task Force. The board recently re-wrote its bylaws to become independent of the city, taking a more proactive role rather than a reactive one to prevent a Winfrey Point scenario from ever happening again. The task force is the watchdog and the gatekeeper for just about everything that happens around the lake, and its mission is to protect and preserve the natural setting. At a recent meeting, President Michael Jung said the board hasn’t taken an official stance on the restaurant, pending more details, but the general feeling is pretty negative.

What you’re seeing happen right now is transparency, not secrecy.

What does Sheffie say?

City Councilman Sheffie Kadane, who represents Lakewood/East Dallas and the White Rock Lake area, says he cannot take an active role in the restaurant debate at this point since the issue has yet to come before the City Council.

“This is not how you kill a deal,” he says of the rumors. But in the end, he will side with his constituents, he says.

“I’m leaning with the neighborhoods,” he says. “That’s not to say it wouldn’t be a good idea.”

He says the idea would need support from several neighborhood associations along the east side of the lake. That means each association needs to take an official stance for or against the restaurant (after having heard the developers’ full presentation, of course).

He reminds us, though, that White Rock Lake is a “signature park” of the city, meaning that it belongs to everyone, not just those who live around it. If the proposal makes it to the City Council, he can’t guarantee how the other council members will vote.

“It belongs to the entire city, not just me.” Kadane says.

The takeaway

This is how the city process works and where we are in it (only its infancy). And the fact is, the developers have met with only a fraction of groups around the lake. It’s safe to say that the majority of neighbors — including those in staunch opposition — have not seen the presentation.

Well, there’s a chance coming up soon. The Old Lake Highlands neighborhood will host Burgin and Kopf at 7 p.m. April 22 at Lake Highlands Baptist Church. It’s sure to be large and vocal, but remember: This is not a done deal.


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