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First Look at the Proposed Boy Scout Hill Restaurant Overlooking White Rock Lake

White Rock restaurant

Jim Schutze has written something that you should read. It’s about the proposed restaurant at White Rock Lake. The hopeful developers are Lyle Burgin and Rick Kopf. I’ve had lunch with these guys, and I like them. Kopf rides his bike at the lake, and he seems to appreciate the natural beauty of the place, which is one of the reasons, he told me, he wants to build a restaurant there. But I’m afraid Kopf and his friend are a bit like Lennie in Of Mice and Men. They don’t know their own strength. They just might crush the thing they love. And Schutze is right. Opposition seems to be building steadily in the neighborhoods around the lake (I live in one of them).

One active neighborhood person tells me that some folks have spent more than $1,500 on yard signs against the restaurant. That same active person sent me the image you see here, taken at a meeting where Burgin and Kopf made their pitch. When I met the developing duo, they showed me some very preliminary drawings. The conversation was off the record, though, so the drawings and the ideas they represented stayed at that lunch table. But what I saw jibes with what you see here. I apologize for how low-fi it is.

The section of the image at the top left is where they want to build. Buckner cuts through the top of the image on its right side, and that’s Mockingbird intersecting it, running horizontally across the top. That area is called Boy Scout Hill. The curvilinear white portion at the bottom is East Lawther, running along the lake’s edge. To the right of that image is a larger detail of the area where they want to build, with the pink portion being the restaurant’s footprint, including parking. Oh, and that dark mass you see in the bottom left is the back of someone’s head. (Again, sorry.)

A restaurateur I know who has heard the Burgin-Kopf pitch told me that the restaurant would be 8,000 square feet, with an additional 6,000-square-foot patio. The developers plan to park all that with 160 spaces. My restaurateur friend scoffed at those figures. He said if you cut the square footage in half and doubled the parking, then the numbers might work out.

It’ll be interesting to watch this develop — or not. Schutze, per usual, has some interesting conspiracy theories about how the developers could triumph over the opposition. Me, I wouldn’t bet against the neighborhood.

26 comments on “First Look at the Proposed Boy Scout Hill Restaurant Overlooking White Rock Lake

  1. [Kopf rides his bike at the lake, and he seems to appreciate the natural beauty of the place, which is one of the reasons, he told me, he wants to build a restaurant there.]

    I feel the same way. But i want to build dining, neighborhood retail, a small office building, and a town home community in White Rock— that way people could spend 100% of their time in White Rock Park, enjoying the natural beauty.

  2. Someone commented in the Advocate something to the extent, “It’s great when you take something ugly and put something beautiful into it like Klyde Warren Park but why would you take something beautiful and put something ugly into it like a restaurant on Boy Scout Hill?”

  3. Why don’t these guys buy the gas station , liquor store, or storage units across from the spillway? That would be a great spot for a restaurant.

  4. I live in the area and am at the lake numerous times a week. Ants Marching music. I love enjoying a good, craft beer on a patio as much as anyone. The spot would have, by far, the best patio in Dallas. Having said that I will do everything I can to fight this. Absolutely would take away what makes the lake so special.

  5. If every two bit development idea for WRL over the last decased was approved there would be no green space left–only decrepit buildings housing failed dreams. Putting a business with one of the highest failure rates on a pristine area of the lake is just good old-fashioned stupidity. and ultimately, just another foot in the door for more mindless development and less public enjoyment. I’m sure they are really nice guys with hearts of gold, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

  6. If every two bit development idea for WRL over the last decade was approved there would be no green space left–only decrepit buildings housing failed dreams. Putting a business with one of the highest failure rates on a pristine area of the lake is just good old-fashioned stupidity. and ultimately, just another foot in the door for more mindless development and less public enjoyment. I’m sure they are really nice guys with hearts of gold, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

  7. Why can’t people leave White Rock alone?? What is so offensive about green space, and grass and trees? Yes, buy the gas station, etc; on Garland Road. I’m betting on the neighborhood, too.

  8. I work and live right by the lake. How do you appreciate natural beauty by building synthetic structures upon it? 3 Prime commercial real estate areas that could use some developing that are White Rock Lake adjacent: 7505 E Northwest Hwy (the old Duncan’s Liquor area-w/direct access to DART rail!), 1000 Emerald Isle (White rock medical Plaza), and the Dallas Legal Directories (9111 Garland Rd) that is rumored to be for sale If the developers really wants to get in bed with the city, then why not negotiate a long term lease with the pump house.

  9. If every two bit development idea for WRL over the last decades were approved there would be no green space left–only decrepit buildings housing failed dreams. Putting a business with one of the highest failure rates on a pristine area of the lake is just good old-fashioned stupidity, and ultimately just another foot in the door for more mindless development and less public enjoyment. I’m sure they are really nice guys with hearts of gold, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

  10. I find it interesting most only speak of what the immediate neighborhoods think of this, this impacts citizens of Dallas as a whole and the people who live in the surrounding Dallas areas that love and appreciate WRL. WRL has a very large pool of visitors, not just the immediate neighbors. Take a look at the SAVE BOY SCOUT HILL PETITION http://www.thepetitionsite.com/587/679/831/save-boy-scout-hill-white-rock-lake-dallas-tx/ and see how far reaching this is.

  11. Amanda Bürden just spoke on this very issue at TED…
    “When Amanda Burden talks about the High Line in NYC, a new park so loved by people that it gets applause just at the mention of its name. It was an elevated railway that has been rebuilt into a gorgeous path full of plants and water. Not everyone likes it. “Developers,” she says, “see only one thing: customers. Wouldn’t it be great to put shops all along the High Line? Wouldn’t that make more money for the city?… No, that would make it a mall, not a park.”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7fRIGphgtk

  12. Kopf is a slick salesman. Restaurant/bars on the lake are great; just not in the park.

  13. The city typically requires parking of 1:100 for restaurants. Which is typically plenty. More than enough. So the restaurant proposal you cite should actually be over parked.

  14. Good location ideas. Agree. Also, I’ve been told that the Duncan’s plot has already been purchased and is awaiting rezoning for residential + retail. Mini Mockingbird Station is what I’ve heard.

  15. This idea is pretty wasteful. There are plenty of commercial properties around the lake that are under developed. Additionally there are 3 sites in park itself that were previously used as dining options that could be redeveloped as cafes or concession stands. All this without taking up any park space.

  16. It would set a precedent if this restaurant were built…..more are sure to follow. And then the lake will no longer be pedestrian and bicyclist friendly. What’s the point? Isn’t there enough commercial property in Dallas? And even in the White Rock Lake area…..Casa Linda for one. This is just driven by greed on the developer’s part. Enough already. Leave what green spaces we have left alone. White Rock is a treasure….let’s keep it that way!

  17. Let’s leave what green spaces we have left in Dallas alone! We don’t even need another restaurant….there are plenty in the area. This is just plain greed on the developer’s part. If this is built, more are sure to follow. Bad, bad precedent would be set….and eventually, White Rock wouldn’t even be pedestrian and bicyclist friendly! No, this is a bad idea and I will be vocal in my protest.

  18. Actually if they leased the trails to a toll authority then they could make money there too and not have to maintain. Just outfit each runner/biker with a tolltag of some kind.

  19. If you want a restaurant put it in the Arboretum they have already shown us how to pour concrete and cut down trees.

  20. Mayor Mike Rawlings at Oak Cliff Earth Day April 12,2014

    The Mayor says we have a responsibility to Mother Earth, to the environment and the neighborhoods we live in. He says we need clean, green cities – they help build neighborhoods and communities and we need strong neighborhoods.

    He said it. I applaud his words. I will suggest to him that he has the power to give the gift of a preserved WRL to Dallas to enjoy for generations to come. I will say that by doing so he will create a legacy that will give ‘green’ in a lasting and meaningful way to the citizens of Dallas.

    I will remind him of his words as needed.
    SAVE BOY SCOUT HILL!

    http://youtu.be/m0vcjpJtwIg

  21. TOWN HALL MEETING

    Presentation by the Developers
    About Their Proposed Restaurant
    on Boy Scout Hill

    PUBLIC INVITED !!!!
    Tuesday, April 22, 7pm
    Lake Highlands Baptist Church
    642 Brookhurst Dr, Dallas, TX
    Fellowship Hall
    The Old Lake Highlands Neighborhood Association Board met with Burgin and Kopf in January. As a follow up, they have accepted an invitation to a Town Hall Meeting sponsered by the OLHNA, where they will be making a presentation regarding their restaurant proposal to the general public. This meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 22, at 7pm, in the Fellowship Hall of the Lake Highlands Baptist Church. The meeting is open to the public, and it is hoped that everyone concerned about this project will attend.

  22. They can put their greasy spoon atop Flag Pole Hill instead. Nobody uses it and it has better Sunset views.