Peninsula Club Circle - A New Park?

1/29/2009 - Neighbors around Peninsula Club Circle have been concerned about the possibility that drilling rigs could be placed within the circle. I have been speaking with City of Fort Worth employees about this issue. To date, I have been assured that no rigs will be sited there.

A long-time objective of the neighbors has been to turn the land into park. At the end of the year, the Parks Department will develop a comprehensive park master plan for the Lake Worth area. During that process, the SSNA will push to move Peninsula Club Circle out of the Water Department and into the Parks Department as a designated park. Achieving this objective will allow the area to be cleaned up and turned into an attractive neighborhood asset. It will also preclude the area from every being used as a drill site.

Michael Dallas
Scenic Shores Neighborhood Association

CIIP - Dredging, Sewers, Water, Parks, and Trails (1/29/2009)

In December 2007, the Fort Worth City Council adopted a plan to complete long overdue capital projects around Lake Worth. The plan, known as the "Capital Improvements Implementation Project" or CIIP, was to be funded from half of the natural gas revenue retrieved from under the lake. The plan includes capital projects that include dredging the lake, building bike trails around the lake, fixing boat ramps, and installing sewer and water around the lake.

As with all large projects, completing the CIIP will take a lot of planning and time. Since there has been no visible action on the plan, many residents think that the plan has been abandoned. This is not true. The projects are under planning and awaiting the receipt of the necessary gas revenues.

I and other officers of the SSNA have been talking with city officials for progress updates. Keeping abreast of progress has been relatively tedious since the various projects cut across several city departments. I have listed the major projects below and the current status of each.

Water Department Projects within the SSNA Boundaries:

1) Dredging Lake Worth - On schedule. Dredging work starts in 2011.
2) Love Circle Water and Sewer Installation - On schedule. Work starts in 2011.
3) Watercress Sewer Installation - On schedule. Work starts in 2013.

Parks Projects within the SSNA Boundaries:

1) Casino Beach Ramp Improvements - On schedule. Work should be started now and completed by Spring 2009.
2) Sunset Park Ramp Improvements - On schedule. Design should start in 2010. The Scenic Shores Neighborhood Association (SSNA) is trying to change this project from a "ramp improvement" to "ramp removal." The SSNA believes that Sunset Park would be more useful to the community if it served swimmers and non-motorized boat traffic.
3) Bike Trails (Phase I) - Behind schedule. Planning was scheduled to start in 2008. Currently, planning with not begin until late 2009 at best.

Michael Dallas
Scenic Shores Neighborhood Association

Love Circle Park - Progress Is Being Made

1/29/2009 - Over the last few months, I have been discussing Love Circle Park (LCP) with city officials and the Parks Board members. Work has now begun to clean the garbage, buildings, light poles and batting cages from the park. Openings will be cabled off to prevent access to motorized vehicles. The park clean up has priority at the highest levels of the parks department and will be completed by March.

Over the next few months, the SSNA will be working with neighbors to create a plan for turning the park into a wonderful asset for the neighborhood and the City of Fort Worth. From my conversations, I have found that there is agreement with the desires of the Parks Department and Love Circle residents. Both want the park to focus on the preservation of wildlife and to be compatable with the the Nature Center.

Michael Dallas
Scenic Shores Neighborhood Association

Below is an email I received from Gale Cupp - Chair of the Neighborhood Association on South Lake Worth and Parks Board member. It should provide encouragement to the neighbors that we can make a positive difference when we work together.



I wanted to talk to Harold Pitchford (Assistant Director of the Parks Department) before I responded to your email. Yesterday, Jan 28 at the PACSD Board meeting, I had that opportunity.

I was able to talk to both Richard Zavala (Director of the Parks Department) and Harold. I want you to know that your concern over the state of Love Circle Park, and your messages of support for City parks overall have duly impressed them both. In fact, Richard has designated both Harold and Melody Mitchell as the primary contacts for addressing the Love Circle situation (and the PACSD crews that have been routed to work at clean up). Richard wants LCP clean up completed by mid March 2009. Further, he recently drove with the new assistant City Manager to tour that area of the Lake in an effort to show show some of the challenges we face in our City parks.

You have already sown the seed of neighborhood support for this particular park and I fully encourage that 'adoption'. Nothing impresses the City more than a group of concerned citizens taking on the task of improving a park property--keen example of course is Fort Woof. For a neighborhood park like Love Circle, the opportunities are far reaching. Later this year, the PACS GRANTs program will likely be available again, and as information becomes available, I will forward it to you for consideration. It is a prgm. in which citizen applicants can recieve up to 25K for improvements to a park area (ex: walking trails, landscaping, irrigation) and is generally matched by 'labor' from neighborhood volunteers. This is particularly important in neighborhood parks without a specific master plan.

You've done a real service for Love Circle which lends itself so well to naturalized meadows, serene vistas etc. I think in the coming months, marked improvements will be apparent~congratulations, as you've steered this in the right direction!



Click here to view my original article on the problems at Love Circle Park. (October 2008)

Dock Issues

9/21/2010 - Letter to Residents from Michael Dallas

Video on Current Dock Ordinance Proposal - by Michael Dallas

Main portion of ordinance (i.e. verbiage of most interest):

Additional building specs:

With this email, I have included two links to the latest "dock ordinance proposal" by the Fort Worth Department of Planning and Development. Like the last three proposals generated by city staff, this proposal does not honor the extensive community collaboration by the Dock
Steering Committee.

In addition to the actual provisions, you need to read the "Whereas" clauses. These clauses appear at the beginning of the proposal and purportedly give the reason for needing to change the city codes at all. The first four "Whereas" clauses state the need for keeping clean
water, preserving a healthy environment, etc.

What shocks the conscience is the verbiage that comes next. In the fifth through eighth "Whereas" statements, the proposal tries to find legitimacy by stating that the provisions come from the Dock Steering Committee! Let me read it to you:

"WHEREAS on or about July 2008 a steering committee was created which included representatives from various neighborhood associations around Lake Worth, real estate professionals, community members and City staff members; and

WHEREAS the steering committee developed its recommendations for standards for boathouses and other structures to be adopted by ordinance on November 20, 2008; and

WHEREAS the recommendations for boathouses and other structures were presented to the City Council's committee on Infrastructure and Transportation on December 9, 2008; and"

The problem is that this is a lie. Yes - a steering committee was formed. Yes - the Dock Steering Committee did create recommendations based on broad community input. No - the recommendations that are in the proposal did not come out of that process. The dirty little secret is that the provisions found in this latest proposal were specifically and emphatically rejected by the Dock Steering Committee in its very first meeting.

You see, the recommendations contained in this latest proposal come straight out of the archaic Eagle Mountain regulations that were written in the 1950's. In its very first meeting, the Dock Steering Committee emphatically stated that the Eagle Mountain regulations may be fine for
Eagle Mountain Lake, but they are completely inappropriate for needs and character of Lake Worth. Moreover, the Dock Steering Committee went on to state that no provisions would be adopted just because "some other lake did it that way."

For this dock ordinance proposal to be legitimate, there is a choice to made. The proposal either needs to be rewritten so that it matches the actual recommendations created by the Dock Steering Committee or the proposal needs to change its "Whereas" statements to reflect the truth such as, "Whereas, the Dock Steering Committee's collaboration was thrown out and the archaic 1950's regulations for Eagle Mountain Lake were substituted. This substitution was in direct opposition to the committee's wishes and intent." When those "Whereas" statements are
added, then the proposal will be honest.

The final "Whereas" statement says,

"WHEREAS it is advisable to amend the Zoning Ordinance to add regulations for the construction and use of boathouses and other structures to insure the preservation of water quality, habitat and the natural and scenic beauty of Lake Worth as well as provide for the health and safety of its
citizens and visitors."

Unfortunately, no one has been able to provide one tiny scrap of evidence that the archaic Eagle Mountain regulations provide any benefit to achieving these goals. On the other hand, the Dock Steering Committee spent six months in intense community collaboration to create an ordinance that benefits everyone.

It is very important to understand that everyone knows that this ordinance should be the result of community collaboration. If this ordinance is not supposed to be based on community collaboration, then why is that collaboration cited in the ordinance proposal itself?

Other questions need to be answered as well such as:

Why has city staff refused to honor the Dock Steering Committee's recommendations?
The second question is, what evidence does staff have, that the antiquated Eagle Mountain standards are more appropriate for Lake Worth than the standards created by the Lake Worth Dock Steering Committee?

The most important question is, if Fort Worth city staff did not like the Dock Steering Committee's standards, then why didn't city staff bring it up during the Dock Steering Committee meetings? City staff not only met with but lead the committee meetings for 6 months on these issues!

These questions go to the heart of the issue, which is, was this an honest process? You can't call the process a collaboration if you throw out the community's work at the end and insert your own personal preferences. The ordinance proposal is either a genuine product of the Dock Steering
Committee's collaboration or not. And if the proposal is not going to be based on community collaboration, then it needs to state that fact very clearly.

Michael Dallas
Scenic Shores Neighborhood Association

9/14/2010 - Letter to Residents from Michael Dallas

Neighbors: Your property rights and enjoyment of the lake are about to change. The City of Fort Worth staff is preparing a new zoning ordinance that will severely affect what you can and cannot have on your property regarding docks. If you are concerned about your property rights and property values, I encourage you to get involved. The Scenic Shores Neighborhood Association is forming a committee to review and comment on the newest zoning proposal put forth by city of Fort Worth staff. All residents who want to participate are welcome.

Here is a link to the latest proposal:

or click here

Sincerely, Michael Dallas
Scenic Shores Neighborhood Association

A short history on the "dock ordinance saga":

Two years ago, a special Dock Steering Committee was formed as a community collaboration to resolve difficult issues regarding the creation of a new "dock ordinance." The committee was composed of city staff and shoreline residents.

In the December of 2008, after six months of hard labor, the committee completed its work and disbanded. Unfortunately, the city staff involved in the process usurped the community collaboration work in favor of his (and his friend's) personal preferences. Three significant revisions to the dock ordinance were successively generated by this staff without any input from the community. After citizens aggressively objected in the Summer of 2009, the dock ordinance issue sat dormant for over a year with no further action or meetings by city staff.

As a new initiative, last week top staff from the Water Department and Planning Department met with members of the Dock Steering Committee. While city staff's newest proposals for a new zoning ordinance do not honor the work of the collaborative efforts already completed, Susan Alanis, Director of Planning and Development, stated that she would be open to working with the four neighborhood associations. It was agreed that the neighborhood associations would garner input from citizens and then provide an outline for second round of collaboration.

Here is Ms. Alanis' letter sent to the neighborhood associations today:

All: Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to meet with us last week. I have attached a copy of the slides that we presented at that meeting.

You provided excellent feedback that we are reviewing and working to address in the draft ordinances. We are working on suggested language and will be distributing it for your review shortly. I believe we did conclude that a bit more time is desirable for you to be able to seek feedback from your memberships once the ordinances are drafted.

As I result, I am proposing the following revised schedule for public hearings and City Council consideration. Tuesday, October 12th, 3:00 p.m. at Fort Worth City Hall - Pre-Council Briefing on dock issuesWednesday, November 10th, 10:00 a.m. at Fort Worth City Hall - Zoning Commission Public HearingTuesday, December 14th, 3:00 p.m. at Fort Worth City Hall - City Council Public Hearing Please feel free to contact me if you have any additional comments or questions. We will be back in touch soon. Regards, Susan AlanisDirector of Planning and DevelopmentCity of Fort Worth


7/12/2010 - Letter to Residents from Michael Dallas

Dear Neighbors:

With this email, I have included several items on Paul Bounds’s proposed “dock ordinance” / “policy proposal” for Lake Worth, which he released on June 16, 2010. After careful review by a highly skilled legal team, it is clear that this proposed ordinance represents serious problems for residents and the City of Fort Worth. In its current form, this ordinance confiscates property from the lake residents, unnecessarily exposes the City of Fort Worth to class action, and provides absolutely no benefit for any stakeholder whatsoever.

Below, I have included links to legal evaluations of Mr. Bounds’s June 2010 version. I have also included a new Dock Ordinance version that I suggest might be reviewed by lake residents and the Dock Steering Committee for adoption. For your convenience, I have also included a link to the version written by Mr. Bounds and a MS Word “Compare” document showing the differences.

The new version deletes problematic provisions that unnecessarily destroy property values and adds verbiage for neglected items such as “grandfathering” for existing structures.

Please review and contact me with your questions.


Michael Dallas
Scenic Shores Neighborhood Association


Differences Between Bounds's Problematic Proposal and Dallas's New Proposal (7/12/2010)

Michael Dallas's Legal Team's New Proposal for Dock Ordinance (7/12/2010)

Michael Dallas's Legal Team Find Problematic Provisions in Paul Bound's Proposal (7/12/2010)

Paul Bounds's Newest Proposal (6/16/2010) - Contains Problematic Provisions

Last Year's (2009) Ordinance Proposals (for your reference):

Final Ordinance Proposal (6/15/2009)

Problems with Part 1 (10/17/2008)

Problems with Part 2 (10/17/2008)

Dock Rules Proposal - Part 2 (10/17/2008)

Problems with Proposal (10/4/2008)

The City's Proposal (10/4/2008)

6/24/2010 - Letter to Residents from Michael Dallas

Dear Neighbors:

Last week, I received an email from Paul Bounds (at the Water Department) containing his "dock policy proposal" for Lake Worth. For your convenience, I have posted a copy on the Scenic Shores Neighborhood Association website for your review.

Click here to review:

A careful review the policy finds many problematic provisions. I believe that these provisions have the potential to severely damage shoreline homeowners, expose the City of Fort Worth to unnecessary liability, and benefit absolutely no one whatsoever. A team of legal experts currently is reviewing the document so that problematic provisions can be identified and discussed. When that legal review is complete, I will provide you a copy.

I am optimistic that city staff and shoreline property owners can work together to create a dock ordinance that benefits everyone.

Below I have included the text of the email in which the proposal was sent to me as well as my response. Call or write if you have questions or comments.

Michael Dallas
Scenic Shores Neighborhood Association


From: "Bounds, Paul S."
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 2010 12:58:27 -0500
To: "'Michael Dallas, CFP'"
Subject: FW: Administrative Procedures for Boat Dock Permits

From: Bounds, Paul S.
Sent: Monday, June 14, 2010 8:41 AM

Subject: Administrative Procedures for Boat Dock Permits

I have had the chance to visit with most of you on the staff's decision to move ahead and adopt administrative procedures for boat dock permits until there is final approval on the ordinances. The goal is still to finalize the proposed boat dock ordinances and have the City Council adopt them. The staff feels like this should logically come after the adoption of the Lake Worth Vision Plan. Final approval of the Plan is still several months away.

There are currently a number of individuals who have been patiently waiting for the boat dock ordinance to be approved. Their proposed docks are less than 1500 square feet and meet all of the standards and requirements that have been proposed for the boat dock ordinances. The staff would like to go ahead cancel the moratorium on boat dock permitting and adopt administrative review procedures as shown on the attachment. This will allow permits to be issued for docks under 1500 square feet that meet all of the proposed construction and location requirements.

Please review the attached administrative review procedures and let me have your comments.

(This link was inserted here for clarity and for your convenience.)



Response to Paul Bounds from Michael Dallas - June 23, 2010


A team of attorneys is reviewing your dock ordinance proposal. I think that there would be great benefit to the shoreline residents and to the City of Fort Worth to wait on committing to such an extensive proposal until they have commented. Hopefully, the attorneys will be complete by the end of next week.

I am a bit confused as to why such an extensive policy needs to be signed to provide administrative approval of reasonable dock plans that are pending. Should staff be able to find a way to approve the docks while your proposal is being studied, the Scenic Shores Neighborhood Association would certainly support your helping these homeowners.

I am optimistic that we can create a dock ordinance that benefits everyone.

I have cc'd the city staff who, in your emails twelve months ago, you indicated had endorsed your dock ordinance proposal. I wanted to be sure that they were included in the loop. If I have left someone out, please forward this email to them as well.

(I will be out of the office for a few days and won't be near my email.)


Michael Dallas
Scenic Shores Neighborhood Association
cell 817-733-9056

8/17/2009 - Letter to Residents from Michael Dallas

Dear Neighbors:

I just wanted to update you on the proposed dock ordinance. As a result of your large turnout at the July 8th Dock Ordinance Meeting, our city employees seem to be showing an effort to address citizens' concerns about their properties.

As you know, a "dock steering committee" made up of citizens from around the lake, labored for six months last year working with city employees to negotiate a "dock ordinance." It quickly became clear that a reasonable procedure for owners to get a variance from the ordinance would be critical. Without it, many property owners would not be able to own or build the dock of their choice. When the committee disbanded in December 2008, a variance prodecure was in place. However, when the "Final Draft" was unveiled by city employees six months later (June 2009), this cornerstone feature had been gutted out.

Prior to the July 8th public dock meeting, it was clear that city employees had no intention of including badly needed flexibility in their "Final Draft" of the proposed dock ordinance. In a June 29th email response to my concerns, city employee Paul Bounds was very clear that there would be no variance considerations afforded to citizens. He wrote, "While we are still open to suggestions for changes to other parts of the draft ordinance, I feel that the variance process proposed by the Steering Committee that would allow for larger docks will not be part of the staff's recommendation to City Council for the reasons stated. For those that disagree they will have the ability to make their opinions known to City Council either prior to the public hearing to approve the Boat Dock Ordinance or at the public hearing when the City Council votes on the ordinance."

This stance seems to have changed dramatically since the July 8th dock meeting. In a Times Record article about the dock meeting (July 16, 2009) , Mr. Bounds is quoted as saying that a new variance procedure would be added to the next draft of the ordinance, but did not know what form it would take. He also said the five percent variance in dock size provided by the present version of the ordinance was not realistic. "There are so many variables - a shoreline is not like a normal neighborhood - there are a lot of curves in the lot lines."

While I have been disappointed that certain city employees have made the dock ordinance process unnecessarily combative and difficult, I am hopeful that we can move on to engage in productive dialog that benefits everyone. Other than an email outlining a general timetable, I have heard nothing more from city employees on this issue. We should be hearing something soon.

For the media stories, click below:

If you have any questions or if I can be of service, please let me know.

Michael Dallas
Scenic Shores Neighborhood Association

8/6/2009 - Lake Worth Dock Ordinance in the News - Ch 11

6/15/2009 - Recently, City of Fort Worth employees and interested residents around the lake formed a "dock steering committee" to work together to create a set of dock regulations. After weeks of talks, the committee agreed on a set of relatively liberal standards as well as an appeal process for residents who want to build docks that don't conform. Currently, the document (i.e. regulations) has come back from the City's legal department is being reviewed by neighbors around the lake.

If you want to see the latest document, click here.

There are several concerns about the document. The issues that concern me the most are:

1) Ability for getting a variance is limited - provisions have been added that undermine the flexibility that the steering committeed negotiated.

2) New $2,000 per day fines for "dock infracations" will be possible.

3) Rights of LWMO employees to inspect docks "without notice" seem to violate the spirit of the city's well-established inspection statute.

I'm hopeful that these issues can be resolved quickly and to the lake residents' benefit.


Michael Dallas
Scenic Shores Neighborhood Association

Final Ordinance Proposal (6/15/2009)

Problems with Part 1 (10/17/2008)

Problems with Part 2 (10/17/2008)

Dock Rules Proposal - Part 2 (10/17/2008)

Problems with Proposal (10/4/2008)

The City's Proposal (10/4/2008)