Developers had their first big opportunity at a meeting Tuesday night to sell the community on building a restaurant on Boy Scout Hill off of White Rock Lake.
The proposed restaurant would take up two and a half acres at the intersection of Mockingbird Lane and Buckner Boulevard.
More than 500 people showed up at the meeting at Lake Highlands Baptist Church, most of them very curious about what's planned for a pocket of land between their homes and the lake they love.
Restaurant development is in its early stages, but already, some nearby residents know exactly where they stand on native Blackland prairie they don't want touched.
“It gives the feeling of being in the country, and we just think it's very precious and should be preserved,” said Suzann Spann of saveboyscouthill.org.
Developers Lyle Burgin and real estate attorney Rickard Kopf pitched the plan Tuesday evening to members of the Old Lake Highlands Neighborhood Association.
What they'd like to see by 2016 is an 8,500-square-foot restaurant with 5,000 square feet of outdoor seating and a 160-space parking lot.
They’re aiming for an eco-friendly dining experience with a lodge feel -- capitalizing on lake and city views. As far as its relationship to the city, they say it would be much like the restaurant at Klyde Warren Park.
“We will raise money and pay to build restaurant that will cost $5 to $7 million dollars, we'll give the restaurant to the City of Dallas and then we will pay rent annually for the use of the restaurant,” said Burgin.
That money is to be earmarked for improving the lake.
Some nearby neighborhoods have a different perspective.
“We don't want the disruption to the neighborhood, the traffic and the noise pollution, the smells,” said Charles Wicker of the Old Lake Highlands Neighborhood Association. “If they have a live band…people tend to like to have a good time. Seems to us like an accident waiting to happen.”
City leaders say the project must get community backing before it gets on board. Money, it says, is not a motivation.
The parks department has been fielding a lot of calls and emails recently, with the vast majority so far against it. But that doesn't mean the tide can't be turned.
“Well, we would like for them to listen to us,” said Burgin. “And we'd like them to understand we really want to take their concerns into mind.”
“I have a dog, and I think a dog-friendly restaurant would be something that would be really nice out here,” said Abby Parmelly.
For others, it's simply not a matter of what, but where.
“I appreciate that they are smart businessmen, but it's just not acceptable to give up the green space in this precious park for business,” said Spann. “And once that one comes in, how does the city say no to the next one and the next one?”
Those opposed have an online petition, which they say has about 2,500 signatures.
Developers are still a pretty long way from going before the city -- they need to get public support, and that starts with convincing neighborhood leaders that this project is a good idea.
KDFW FOX 4 400 N. Griffin Street Dallas, Texas 75202
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