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

Boy Scout Hill at White Rock Lake: Photo by Danny Fulgencio
Boy Scout Hill at White Rock Lake: Photo by 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.

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.

Sponsored Message

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.

Sponsored Message

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

Sponsored Message

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.

Written By
More from Emily Toman

Lovers Pizza & Pasta

Whether they scored the winning touchdown or got their butts kicked, every...
Read More
  • Ben

    of course you think I am wrong, I didn’t expect you to agree with me.

  • Ben, sloppy mud hole on this post essentially said a specific council member was on the take — I asked for proof and have received none. The comment was not edited or moderated; we just asked for clarification. The discussion about Lakewood and LEEF that you linked to is completely different, with commenters talking about whether racism is a factor in the decision making; we’ve reviewed those comments as they’ve come in and haven’t seen the same finger-pointing at a specific person without proof. I believe you are wrong in this comparison.

  • Ben

    Give me a break. If you are going to moderate the comments then do it across the board. Go here to see unsubstantiated allegations without any proof that all white people are racist, no moderators in sight:

  • Peter

    Plenty of restaurants to support in the area. None are needed right next to WRL. The arboretum has ruined enough land around the lake, don’t need to take any more land from nature.

  • Carol Bell-Walton

    Because Dallas typically has few pedestrians and bike riders on our streets due to archain urban design. People walking and on bikes don’t hold up well against a drunk in a car. In a vehicle, survival is not a guarantee, but it sure takes a lot of the bite out of a wreck.

  • Wilson!

    Why does putting alcohol sales next to a lake make it any more dangerous than putting it next to a busy street, such as Lake House, a mere half-mile from the lake?

  • Wilson!

    I totally agree with your sentiment, but if you think WRL is “unspoiled natural beauty,” you need to get out of Dallas more. 🙂

  • Sloppy mud hole, you are welcome to participate in the discussion here on our website, but you are making accusations that council members “tailored their influence to promote their livelihood” without any proof. If you have some proof, please post it here; otherwise, please refrain from making unsubstantiated allegations. Also remember that anyone who is a Realtor (not just the council members in question) in our neighborhood now is working with high-commission, expensive homes, thanks in large part to the presence of the Lake as a nearby amenity. Thanks for your participation.

  • sloppy mud hole

    Before Sheffie there was the former esteemed Dallas City council member, convicted of ethics violations, who like Sheffie, is a realtor with Ebby Holiday( whose major client base consists of folks owning high commission, expensive homes in Highland Park and Lakewood. Could it be they tailored their influence to promote their livelihood with these folks both during tenure on council and for post council high commission, real estate brokerage work. Arboretum, DUC and Boy Scout Hill restaurant crowd all hail from these areas. DOES ANYONE SEE A PATTERN HEAR?. Next election, if you vote in another shameless self- promoting council member like the last 3 we have had, they will continue working behind the scenes selling off the lake to Highland Park/Lakewood private interests. Then you can kiss the most valuable asset at White Rock Lake and perhaps in Dallas, the flowering Black Land Prairie, goodbye,

  • ASAN

    Here are two of three restaurant choices, not including kiosks, that are on the shores of White Rock Lake…at the Dallas Arboretum. Serving food and views galore. No more on the shores of White Rock , please!!


    Paving Boy Scout Hill and building another Dallas restaurant is wrong. This is the very spot where the City accepted the Texas Parks and Wildlife Lone Star Land Steward Award for preserving the meadows around White Rock. (You can see the video at Dallas residents should be proud that it was the first such award to a Texas city that had the foresight to preserve a natural oasis.

    Boy Scout Hill has been appreciated by wildlife and wildflower enthusiasts for decades and many, many species have been documented by photographers and naturalists.

    Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops rally there. Cyclists, runners, and dog walkers see waxwings, Baltimore orioles, scissor-tailed fly catchers, yellow headed blackbirds, and kingbirds. In the spring you can see cut-leaf daisies, Mexican hats, Indian paint brushes, purple cone flowers, verbena, and prairie primrose. It is a great place to take a picture of your children in the wild flowers. Or have a picnic and watch the kids fly a kite. In short, it is a great place to do the things that parks are for. None of these things mix well with booze and traffic. That is why alcohol is banned in the park now!

    Greed is driving this and nothing more. It is pure arrogance when developers take a treasure like the blackland prairie that has been here since buffalo grazed and pave it over, thinking that they can do better than nature. Their arrogant belief that it is better to have yet another place to go get something to eat and a drink, than to have a place where the eye can take in the earth, the sky and God’s creatures and let the soul rejuvenate is nothing short of asinine.

  • Enographer, if you’re talking about Sheffie’s re-election, I don’t believe he can run again since he is term-limited by city charter to four terms. And although I don’t know this for certain, I’ve never heard Sheffie (or anyone else, for that matter) talk about Sheffie running for any other office.

  • Enographer

    Okay class, pay attention: First the “honorable” S—–e K—-e sold out his constituents’ wishes by pushing thru a separate rowing center for Park Cities kids. Ask yourself why!Political a$piration$? Po$$ibly, but common $en$e $ay$ hi$ rea$on wa$ probably for more $elf ba$ed and per$onal.
    Now he says he opposes this restaurant, BUT he leaves the door open for changing his position, even though he acknowledges that his constituents OPPOSE
    Wake up, class! He is clearly sending a signal to the power brokers behind the restaurant proposal that if they want him to change his position, if need to $uddenly become $ignificantly more involved in local politic$ by making $ome campaign contribution$ to a $pecific incumbent’$ re-election fund$.

  • Deb Brown

    The proposal by commercial restaurant developers to put a restaurant at Boy Scout Hill is a solution in search of a problem. In 13 years of living in the White Rock Lake area, I have yet to hear a single complaint that there are no restaurants with parking lots at the lake! Instead, walkers, runners, family groups, picnickers, cyclists and strollers come to the lake BECAUSE of the unspoiled natural beauty of this park. There are ample restaurants within 5 minutes of White Rock Lake. I am opposed to a restaurant on Boy Scout Hill. I was opposed to paving over historic, land steward protected Winfrey Point for an Arboretum parking lot. I am opposed to the continual encroachment efforts on this park that seem irresistible to commercial developers. Increased traffic, bricks and mortar, increased trash, noise and sense of crowding replacing the natural beauty and animal habitats have no place in this park. I encourage all who enjoy this designated State of Texas Park and Wildlife Habitat to visit

  • Kathleen Lynch

    Check out these very well stated reasons to not want a restaurant in WRL Park…Link:

  • Louise Hagar

    ALL of White Rock Lake needs to remain a park! Please support the Save Boy Scout Hill Facebook page and vote!

  • KatieDancer

    Ol’ Sheffie is on the fence again.

  • Carol Bell-Walton

    Let’s say “restaurant/bar” when the project is discussed, because that is what it is. While the developers speculate alcohol sales will only be 10 -15% of gross sales, how can they be held to that? The trails and roads around White Rock Lake often operate at capacity with bikers, hikers, strollers, roller bladers, and sightseers without a destination restaurant/bar and enormous parking lot proposed (to cover acres of native black prairie grasslands). Adding liquor sales into the mix will just add to White Rock Lake’s already too long and very sad list of traffic related fatalities. Imagine the most raucous restaurant/bar on Greenville or SMU put it next to the water. It’s tragedy waiting to happen.

    I cannot imagine looking at a PUBLIC park and seeing the money to be made. I look at White Rock Lake Park and see 100 years of nature conservation where my grandparents fished, my parents picnicked, and my family has enjoyed hiking, biking, running, geocaching, and taking in the natural surroundings. Let’s protect it for another 100 years from greedy developers who would take what belongs to all of the citizens of Dallas for their very own profit. It is just a shame that the watchdogs of Dallas parklands once again have to spend our time, money, and energy to shoot down these avarice ambitions. Would the Austin Parks department even be talking to these developers about developing Zilker Park? No. Let’s keep White Rock Lake Park natural for all of the citizens of Dallas, not privatize it for well-connected and well-funded profiteers.