Tempers Flare over Proposed Lake Worth Dock Ordinance - Art Jones

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July 16, 2009

Tempers flare over proposed Lake Worth dock ordinance
by Art Jones

This weathered dock extends from a rarely used vacant lot on Sunset Point Circle and has been called an "attractive nuisance" by neighbors.

It was standing room only at the City of Lake Worth city council chambers last Wednesday night, July 8. A large number of residents who live on the shore of Lake Worth had come to meet with representatives of the City of Fort Worth to voice their concerns about the latest draft of the new proposed dock ordinance. The reservoir is entirely within the city limits of Fort Worth and is owned by the city.

Discussions between residents and the city began several months ago after the city’s Lake Worth Management Office began evaluating docks around the lake. At that time, 113 were deemed in good repair and usable; 108 docks need some maintenance or repairs; and 82 docks are in such poor condition the management office determined they should be removed.

However, no standard for docks or boat houses on Lake Worth exits. While there are construction standards in the city’s building code, no standards currently exist specific to boat docks.

The city decided to work with residents to come up with a set of standards for existing docks and new construction. A committee of resident homeowners was assembled and presented its recommendations to the Lake Worth Management Office in August 2008, and a draft of the proposed standards was prepared. These standards were presented at a public hearing last October by Paul Bounds, regulatory and environmental coordinator for the City of Fort Worth Water Department.

There were more meetings and more discussion. In November 2008, additional committee recommendations were made and the standards were again revised. A "final" draft was distributed to committee members and neighborhood associations a few weeks ago, on or about June 3. The public meeting July 8 was to review the new standards so the ordinance could be submitted to the Fort Worth City Council for adoption sometime in September.

However, several points submitted by the committee and of significant importance to the property owners had been omitted from the final draft.

"For six months, a lot of good people … worked on this," said Michael Dallas, president of the Scenic Shores Neighborhood Association, "and the result [of our efforts] met the objectives. Everybody on the lake who has a property can have a dock. Everybody that has a dock can keep the dock. Everybody that has a dock … and wants to fix their dock up, can.

"We did have some concerns about procedures [in the proposed ordinance] but were told ‘don’t worry about that, we have a variance procedure that will take care of that,’" Dallas said. "Six months later, we get this document back – I nearly fell out of my chair – pretty much everything, all the protections [we had] put into this document, gutted like a fish."

What was removed from the proposed final draft of the ordinance, Dallas told the Times-Record, was the provision that property owners could build the dock of their choice – size and configuration – so long as it did not infringe on neighboring properties. However, the present version limits the size of docks and reads as follows:

The maximum floor to area coverage allowed for Docks, Piers, Boathouses and/or Walkways shall be twenty-five percent of the area of the Water Use and Access Easement. Every site regardless of the area of the Water Use and Access Easement shall be allowed a minimum coverage area of 1,000 square feet and a maximum coverage area of 2,500 square feet.

Unlike most lakes in the United States, residents owning or leasing property on the shore of Lake Worth have special warranty deeds, an easement, which allows them to use the lake bottom bordered by the shoreline and their property lines as extended into the lake. The easement can be passed along to heirs, sold to a new owner, etc. The size of dock an owner can build is not addressed in the easement.

In a "fee simple" type of ownership, which is what most residential homeowners have, you own the property, but its use is still governed by city or county ordinances or zoning laws and any previous deed restrictions limiting the use of the property. An "easement" is the right to use the land of another person or entity for a particular purpose. The City of Fort Worth owns the bottom of the lake. The easements are assigned to the individual residential property owners along the shoreline.

In addition, Dallas said, the opportunity to take a dispute before a variance committee was no longer in the proposed boat dock standards.

"We thought there would be a Boat Dock Standards Board of Adjustments," Bounds told the Times-Record. "Then, we found out that the city was trying to reduce the number of boards, not add new ones." He said 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."

Bounds also said that the reasoning behind limiting the size of a boat dock was to ensure "health and welfare standards" and to preserve "orderly development and aesthetics" of the shoreline. To think that the City of Fort Worth had no voice in the use of the easements was, he said, "ludicrous."

Residents, however, interpret the city’s tactic as a way to take their easement back, or to at least dictate what size dock can be built – a view many residents strongly oppose, since it could have the effect of dramatically lowering their property value.

The example given by several property owners was of a potential buyer who wanted a large boat dock. He would look elsewhere if Lake Worth docks are limited in size.
However, dock size is controlled on Eagle Mountain Lake and Possum Kingdom Lake, and private docks are not allowed on Lake Benbrook. oHowever

Other residents voiced concerns about the $2,000 fine that could be imposed for violations of the proposed ordinance. Christa Reynolds from the City of Fort Worth legal department said that the language pertaining to the fine was used in all Fort Worth ordinances:

Any person, firm or corporation who violates, disobeys, omits, neglects or refuses to comply with or who resists the enforcement of any of the provisions of this ordinance shall be fined not more than two thousand dollars ($2,000.00) for each offense. Each day that a violation is permitted to exist shall constitute a separate offense.
She said that she was not aware of a single instance where the $2,000 fine had been imposed.

Still remaining unresolved is the "grandfathering" of existing docks that are not in compliance with the proposed standards, but are in good condition and do not present a hazard. Will they have to be brought into compliance at some time in the future when repairs are necessary?

If an existing dock is expanded or improved, will the entire structure have to be brought into compliance? That’s the way the present draft of the standards reads, but without the option of a variance, it could prove prohibitively expensive for a property owner, according to opponents.

And, the issue of ownership is far from being resolved. The city is adamant that they have the right to make any rules deemed necessary since they own the land. Many residents hold the opposite opinion and say that the Special Warranty Deeds prohibit the city from doing just that.

For now, the city has gone back to the drawing board on its proposed dock ordinance, and at least one more public meeting is being planned, although a time and date have not been set.

Final Ordinance - Proposal June 15, 2009

Discussion of problems have been put in yellow text.********************************************************


Ordinance No. _________


WHEREAS, Lake Worth is owned by the City of Fort Worth and is managed by the Water Department; and

WHEREAS, Chapter 36 of the Building Code as adopted by the City Council requires that structures constructed on Lake Worth must have the approval of the Water Department, as well as comply with other City Codes; and

WHEREAS, the Water Department determined a need to balance the right of the property owners at Lake Worth and the protection and integrity of the City’s right as property of Lake Worth by determining appropriate standards for boathouses and other structures; and

WHEREAS, on or about July 2008a steering committee was created made up of 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 to be adopted by ordinance on November 20, 2008; and

WHEREAS, the Water Department presented these recommendations to the City Council’s committee on Infrastructure and Transportation on December 9, 2008; and

WHEREAS, the Water Department, after conferring with the Planning and Development Department and the Building Official, hereby recommends these standards be adopted through this ordinance by the City Council.



Part II of the Code of the City of Fort Worth, Texas (1986), as amended, Chapter 18, “Lake Worth”, Article II, “ is hereby added to the City Code to read and be as follows:

SECTION 18-16. Definitions.

For the purposes of this Article II, the following words and phases shall have the meanings assigned herein. If any of these terms are further defined elsewhere in the City Code, the definitions shall apply unless there is a conflict, and then the definition in this Article II shall apply.

Building Code shall mean the building code(s) as adopted and amended by the Fort Worth City Council.

Dead Load shall mean the permanent inert weight of materials of construction incorporated into the Structure, including fixed or permanent attachments, such as bumpers, railings, winch stands, roof structures, etc.

Decking shall mean the surface material that forms the floor of the Structure.

Dock, Pier, or Boathouse (or any combination) shall mean a structure extending from the shore into the water to permit the landing and mooring of vessels. The term “dock”, “pier” or “boathouse” includes the anchoring system and any walkways or bridges that will attach to the Structure itself.

Problem: Definition conflicts with rights granted in easement. This document erroneously implies structures can only be used in the support of boating activities. Easement clearly states that structure can be used for water recreational activities including the storage of boats. 2) Easement uses the words “dock” but never “boat dock.”More Appropriate: “Piers, docks, and boat houses: structures used for ingress and egress to and from Lake Worth and for water recreational purposes including the storage of boats. These terms include the anchoring system and any walkways or bridges that will attach to the dock itself.”

Flotation Live Load shall mean the total load that a dock can carry without capsizing or sinking. The flotation live load shall be equal to the dead load plus the live load.

Hunt Absorption Test shall mean a test documenting the rate at which flotation material absorbs liquid, as well as the quantity of liquid absorbed.

Lakefront Property Line shall mean the property line that borders the waters of Lake Worth as shown on the final plat of record or survey for the property.

Lake Worth Management Office (LWMO) shall mean that group in the Water Department responsible for review and approval for all improvements to structures at or in Lake Worth, and who shall administer the requirements of Article II.

Live Load shall mean any moving or variable superimposed load on the Structure.

Loads shall mean forces or other actions that result from the weight of building materials, occupants and their possessions, environmental effect, differential movement and restrained dimensional changes. Permanent loads are those loads in which variations over time are rare or of small magnitude, such as dead loads. All other loads shall be variable loads.

Registered Professional Engineer (RPE) shall mean a professional engineer currently registered with the State of Texas as a professional engineer with a specialization in civil or structural engineering and experience in dock and pier construction.

Structural Dead Load shall mean the weight of the Structure and its ability to support itself.

Structure shall mean and be inclusive of entire Dock, Pier or Boathouse, including the walkway, anchoring system, cables, floats, electrical, plumbing and any other related components or materials installed in conjunction with the construction, maintenance, or use of the dock.

Walkway (or Bridge) shall mean a passage that provides access from the land or a boat dock, marina, or other floating facility.

Water Use and Access Easement shall mean the lands enclosed on one side by the lakefront property line, on a second side by the waters of Lake Worth, and on the third and fourth side by two lines, each beginning at opposite ends of the lakefront property line and each being a projection of the side lot lines of each lot as shown on the plat of record or survey for the property.

SECTION 18-17. Construction or Improvement of a Dock, Pier, Boathouse or Walkway.

(a) No person shall erect, construct, enlarge, alter, or remove any Dock, Pier, Boathouse or Walkway in Lake Worth without the approval of the LWMO. Such approval must be shown in writing upon application for a permit pursuant to Chapter 36 of the Building Code.

Comments: Does this mean that someone has to pull and pay for a permit to remove their old dock? Most people who haven't removed their old dock can afford to remove it and they want them to pay for a permit to do it. Seems like that would discourage folks not to remove their old dock.

(b) A person who wishes to erect, construct, enlarge, alter, or remove any Dock, Pier, Boathouse or Walkway in Lake Worth shall comply with all design and construction standards provided in this Article and shall also comply with the Building Code. If there is a conflict between the Building Code and a provision in this Article, the more restrictive requirement shall apply.

(c) A person commits an offense if a person fails to obtain the written approval of the LWMO prior to erecting, constructing, enlarging, altering, or removing any Dock, Pier, Boathouse (or combination) or Walkway and/or fails to comply with any requirement in this Article II and/or the Building Code.

SECTION 18-18. General Provisions.

(a) All Docks, Piers, Boathouses or Walkway in Lake Worth shall be considered accessory structures. A primary structure must be present on the lot to which a Dock, Pier, Boathouse and/or Walkway is attached.

Question: What if someone is planning on buidling a house and wants to build the dock first? I guess the city employees will just say "No?"

(b) A person who wishes to construct or improve a Dock, Pier, Boathouse or Walkway must have a valid Water Use and Access Easement which has been granted by the City.

(c) A person commits an offense if a person constructs or improves a Dock, Pier, Boathouse or Walkway without a valid Water Use and Access Easement granted by the City.

SECTION 18-19. Application to the LWMO.

(a) Persons seeking to construct a Dock, Pier or Boathouse or Walkway must submit to LWMO an application and two (2) complete sets of the project plans for the Structure, which shall include but not limited to the anchoring system, and any Walkways or Bridges that will attach to the proposed Structure.

(b) When an existing Structure will be used as part of the newly proposed Structure the project plans must include a complete description of the existing Structure. The existing Structure must also comply or be brought into compliance with the specifications set forth in these regulations.

(c) The project plans must include a description of the site that shows the location of the primary lot, the extension of property lines out into the water area and a key plan, either included on the site plan or on a separate sheet, to show the location on or to Lake Worth.

(d) The project plans must be signed and sealed by an RPE and contain a statement that the proposed Structure complies with the specifications set forth in this Article and any and all structural design provisions in the Building Code.

(e) Each project plan set must also include a copy of the manufacturer’s certified plans for any components that will be part of the Structure, such as decking, railing, or awning systems.

(f) The project plans and manufacturer’s certified plans must be based upon the actual conditions at the site of the proposed Structure.

(g) Upon acceptance of the project plans and manufacturer’s certified plans, and written approval of the proposed Structure by the LWMO, the requestor shall submit such plans and a copy of the written approval from LWMO to the Planning and Development Department as part of its application for a building permit.

(h) A person may not begin construction of a Structure until a building permit for the Structure has been issued by the City.

SECTION 18-20. Size and Setback Limitations.

(a) The maximum floor to area coverage allowed for Docks, Piers, Boathouses and/or Walkways shall be twenty-five percent (25%) of the area of the Water Use and Access Easement. Every site regardless of the area of the Water Use and Access Easement shall be allowed a minimum coverage area of 1,000 square feet and a maximum coverage area of 2,500 square feet.

(b) The minimum setback from a projected side yard line shall be based on the width of the property at the Lakefront Property Line as follows:
Lot Width Setback
Less than 50 feet 5 feet
50-69 feet 10 feet
70-99 feet 15 feet
100 feet or more 20 feet

(c) Structures may extend to a point 100 feet from the Lakefront Property Line into the waters of Lake Worth regardless of the depth of the water at that point, or to the point at which the elevation of the land lying under Lake Worth is not lesser than 584 feet above mean sea level, but in no instance shall such improvements be allowed to extend further than 150 feet from the Lakefront Property Line into the waters of Lake Worth.

(d) No Structure shall occupy more than one-third (1/3) of the channel width and in no case shall extend more than 20 feet from the centerline of the channel, as determined by the LWMO.

SECTION 18-21. Structures.
(a) Enclosed Structures are prohibited. To protect a raised boat within a Structure from the elements, solid sides on the Structure will be permitted at a maximum of two (2) feet downward to the point where the ceiling joist meets the top plate. No additional materials (i.e. lattice, fencing, bars, screen fabric, doors, glass, etc.) may be installed below the two (2) foot sidewalls. Safety railings attached to the deck may extend upward a maximum of three (3) feet. A Special Exception maybe granted pursuant to Section 18-26, to allow for enclosure of Structures that do not extend more than 100 feet into the Water Use and Access Easement.

(b) A contained storage area is allowed only within the first floor (lower deck) of a Boathouse and only for the purpose of storing items such as tackle and life jackets. Products considered hazardous material or any material which has a warning label prohibiting its use or storage near water and/or public water supplies may not be stored in these areas. The maximum storage area allowed shall be as follows:

Structure Area Storage Area
800 to 1500 square feet 32 square feet
1501 to 2000 square feet 48 square feet
2001 to 2500 square feet 64 square feet

(c) No toilet facilities of any type shall be allowed on any Structure built past the Lakefront Property Line. A potable water supply can be plumbed to the first floor (lower deck) provided that backflow prevention devices are installed and inspected in accordance with 12.5, Article V, Division 3, Cross Connection Control of the City Code and the Plumbing Code as adopted by the City Council.

(d) Fuel pumping facilities exceeding 55 gallons are not allowed on Structures that extend past the Lakefront Property Line.

(e) Structures shall be limited to a single story (lower deck) and a sundeck (upper deck) or roof. The floor of the lower deck shall be no less than the 596 foot elevation. The upper deck of a Structure shall have a minimum of one-half (1/2) in 12 pitch. The upper deck may not have a permanent roof or covering. The roof shall be constructed in accordance with the Building Code.

(f) Any Structure that extends more than 100 feet from the Lakefront Property Line shall be equipped with a white photocell light of no less than 200 lumens that operates continually from dusk to dawn. Such lighting shall be provided with a cover on the top of the light to minimize light dispersion upward. The LWMO may require that lighting be placed on structures less than 100 feet from the shoreline when in LWMO decides it is warranted to enhance boating safety. It is the Dock owner's responsibility to ensure that all required lighting is properly maintained and operational at all times.

(g) A person commits an offense if a person constructs or improves a Structure in violation of this Section.

SECTION 18-22. Design Loads.

The provisions of this Section are provided from Chapter 36 of the Building Code. As such, appeals for variances to this Section shall be made through the Building Official and the Construction and Fire Prevention Board of Appeals.

The RPE shall apply the appropriate loads when doing calculations. Such factors shall include, but not be limited to:

(a) Dead load;
(b) Live load;
(c) Roof load; and
(d) Wind load and wave action; which should be considered as simultaneously applied.
(e) When intended to have boats attached to the Structure for storage, the effects of such estimated loads, such as wind and wave, on the boat that are transferred to the Structure shall also be considered.
(f) When intended to have boats lifted out of the water, the effects of such estimated loads, such as wind on the boat and dead load of the boat, that are transferred to the Structure shall also be included.
(g) Surface areas at and above the water line, when authorized, including but limited to walls, screens and tarps.

SECTION 18-23. Design Minimums.

The provisions of this Section are provided from Chapter 36 of the Building Code. As such, appeals for variances to this Section shall be made through the Building Official and the Construction and Fire Prevention Board of Appeals.

In addition to complying with Chapter 36 of Building Code (unless otherwise stated herein), all Structures shall comply with the following provisions:

(a) Wood piles shall comply with Chapter 18 of the Building Code.

(b) All Docks, Piers or Boathouses (or combination) shall be designed to withstand the Loads as specified in Chapter 16 of Building Code, based upon the occupancy classification as assigned by the City’s Building Official.

(c) Structures must withstand a minimum of four (4) foot high wave action at lake levels up to 601 feet above sea level. Floating docks must be designed with anchorage footing and piers to remain in place without floating off at the 601 elevation.

(d) Cables and chains used in anchoring systems shall be designed with a minimum working load safety factor of 3.0 for cable and 2.0 for chains.

(e) Walkways and Bridges shall have a maximum slope under dead Load of a 4:1 ratio to any direction at the lake level of 594 feet above sea level.

(f) Flotation devices for Structures, Walkways and Bridges shall be designed to support the Dead Load and Live Load as a fixed Structure, except that private residential structures may be designed to support the Dead Load plus 30-pounds per square foot Live Load when permitted by Chapter 36 of the Building Code.

SECTION 18-24. Floatation Material.

(a) Flotation material shall be extruded polystyrene, expanded polystyrene, or a copolymer of polyethylene and polystyrene and shall have a minimum density of 0.9 pounds per cubic foot, and be of consistent quality throughout the float. Beads shall be firmly fused together, and there shall be no voids inside the encasement. Flotation material shall have a water rate absorption of less than 3.0 pounds per cubic foot over seven (7) days when tested by the Hunt Absorption Test. Other flotation material may be considered if it meets all of the requirements set forth in this section.

(b) Flotation material shall be encased in solid polyethylene or a polyurethane type coating, both of which shall be watertight and have a nominal thickness of 0.125 inches.

(c) Drums made of plastic, whether new or recycled, or metal shall not be used for encasements or floats.

(d) All flats shall be warranted for a minimum of eight (8) years against sinking, becoming waterlogged, cracking, peeling, fragmenting, or losing beads, and shall not be prone to damage by animals.

(e) Floats that are punctured, exposing the foam to erosion or deterioration, shall be replaced immediately.

SECTION 18-25. Inspections and Removal for Violations.

(a) Docks, Piers and Boathouses under construction must pass an inspection by the Planning and Development Department in accordance with Chapter 1 of the Building Code. Such Structures may also be subject to inspection by the LWMO or the City’s authorized agents, without prior notice, at reasonable times.

Comments: This provision needs to be clear that LWMO employees fall squarely under the city's well-established 'right of entry' policy and must comply with that provision. The 'without prior notice' language seems to contradict the spirit if not the letter of the city's statute. Here is the Building Code's verbage:

104.6 Right of entry. When it is necessary to make an inspection to enforce the provisions of this code, or when the building official has reasonable cause to believe that there exists in a building or upon a premises a condition that is contrary to or in violation of this code that makes the building or premises unsafe, dangerous or hazardous, the building official may enter the building or premises at reasonable times to inspect or to perform the duties imposed by this code, provided that if such building or premises be occupied that credentials be presented to the occupant and entry requested. If such building or premises be unoccupied, the building official shall first make a reasonable effort to locate the owner or other person having charge or control of the building or premises and request entry. If entry is refused, the building official shall have recourse to the remedies provided by law to secure entry. An application for a permit shall be considered as permission from an authorized representative to inspect the premises."

(b) All owners must comply with this Article II and all permit requirements.

(c) Failure to request and/ or pass inspection, or failure to correct any violations within 30 calendar days of receipt of written notice, may result in the removal of the Structure at the owner’s expense.

(d) The LWMO may remove any Structure that remains a hazard to navigation in Lake Worth as determined by LWMO, at the owner’s expense after written notice of the LWMO to remove the Structure.

(e) When a Structure is removed for any reason, either at the initiative of the owner or at the direction of the LWMO, the owner shall be responsible for the complete removal of the entire Structure and any other related components or materials installed in conjunction with the construction, maintenance, or use of the Structure.

(f) Appeal of a decision of the LWMO to remove a Structure shall be to the Director of the Water Department pursuant to Section 18-26.

SECTION 18-26. Waivers.
(a) Except for those requirements in Sections 18-22 and 18-23, a person shall submit a written request for a waiver to the LWMO stating specifically the requirement and the reasons for such waiver. The requestor must also show that the waiver shall pose no health or safety risk nor conflict with the Water and Use Easement.

(b) Upon the recommendation of the LWMO, the Director of the Water Department may grant up to a five percent (5%) waiver for those requirements stated in Sections 18-20 and 18-21(b).

Question 1: This is very disconcerting. Citizens widely resent the actions of a recently reassigned LWMO employee who acted in an 'all-powerful' manner for years. Why is it that they (city employees) continue to want to give a single employee the authority to approve or disapprove construction exceptions? Why can't citizens appeal to a bona fide group such as a board or council like all other construction exceptions?

Question 2: A lot of people on the steering committee are very adamant about creating a document that retains flexibility to vary the standards when the situation permitted. Who unilaterally decided to cap (the Director's of the Water Department) flexibility at 5%?


This ordinance shall be cumulative of all provisions of ordinances and of the Code of the City of Fort Worth, Texas (1986), as amended, except where the provisions of this ordinance are in direct conflict with the provisions of such ordinances and such Code, in which event conflicting provisions of such ordinances and such Code are hereby repealed.

It is hereby declared to be the intention of the City Council that the phrase, clause, sentence, paragraph or section of this ordinance are severable and, if any phrase, clause, sentence, paragraph or section of this ordinance shall be declared unconstitutional by the valid judgment or decree of any court of competent jurisdiction, such unconstitutionality shall not affect any of the remaining phrases, clauses, sentences, paragraphs and sections of this ordinance, since the same would have been enacted by the City Council without the incorporation in this ordinance of any such unconstitutional phrase, clause, sentence, paragraph or section.


Any person, firm or corporation who violates, disobeys, omits, neglects or refuses to comply with or who resists the enforcement of any of the provisions of this ordinance shall be fined not more than two thousand dollars ($2,000.00) for each offense. Each day that a violation is permitted to exist shall constitute a separate offense.

Question: Who's going to inflict these $2,000 per day penalties? The legal department? Development? Code enforcement? LWMO? Does this mean that LWMO employees now will have the authority to fine homeowners $60,000 per month?


All rights and remedies of the City of Fort Worth, Texas, are expressly saved as to any and all violations of the provisions of the ordinances amended herein, which have accrued at the time of the effective date of this ordinance and, as to such accrued violations and all pending litigation, both civil and criminal, whether pending in court or not, under such ordinances, same shall not be affected by this ordinance but may be prosecuted until final disposition by the courts.


The City Secretary of the City of Fort Worth, Texas, is hereby directed to publish the caption of this ordinance for two (2) days in the official newspaper of the City of Fort Worth, Texas, as authorized by Section 2, Chapter XXV of the Charter of the City of Fort Worth, Texas and by Section 52.013, Texas Local Government Code.


This Ordinance shall take effect on the date it is adopted.

By: _________________________________
Assistant City Attorney

ADOPTED: __________________________

Jacksboro Highway Plans

Neighbors have asked about the proposed plans for Jacksboro Highway and the Lake Worth bridge. There is some work that will begin soon and other plans that will be done far in the future.

Short-Term Plans:
In the short-term, the bridge will get traffic dividers. Currently, there is no physical barrier between east and west bound traffic. While dangerous enough in clear conditions, icy conditions make the bridge particularly dangerous. The homemade memorial on the east end of the bridge shows evidence of the deaths that have already occurred there. Installation of the traffic dividers should start in mid-June.

Long-Term Plans:
In the long-term, Jacksboro Highway will become a large, raised, divided highway (like an Interstate). As anyone who drives the highway knows, much of the work has already been completed past the Fort Worth city limits. In the future, a large "mix master" will be built where Jacksboro Highway crosses I-820. A new bridge will be built just north of the current Lake Worth bridge. The current bridge will then be used for carrying access road traffic across the lake. Currently, there is no schedule or budget to complete this work.

To see the long-term plan in more detail, click the image below.

Love Circle Park - Recommendations

(Click image to see larger picture.)

Overall Park Improvement Objective:
Maximize Love Circle Park's potential value to the City of Fort Worth as well as the local community.

Specific Objectives:
  • Build on park's proximity to the Fort Worth Nature Center and Lake Worth.
  • Restore park to a more natural state.
  • Make park more useful to community's recreational and physical fitness needs.
  • Create a plan that complements The Lake Worth Vision effort.
  • Create a plan that coordinates with the values and goals of the Fort Worth Nature Center.
  • Look for design features that enhance the safety of park users and the neighborhood.

Specific Proposals:

1) Finish park cleanup.
Undoubtedly, Love Circle Park is in much better condition today than just a few months ago. The park has been cleared of the terrible garbage, abandoned structures, and large piles of dirt left by the previous tenant. However, there still remains a tremendous amount of cleanup. Many trees in the "mowed area" are covered with vines and surrounded by brush. These "brush islands" make it impossible for mowers to get under trees and for park users to enjoy the trees' shade. Moreover, these dense brush globs attract people who want to misuse the park. For example, neighbors recently found a man in one of these clumps "huffing" spray paint.
  • Raise tree canopy in mowed area (so mowers can reach under trees).
  • Remove vines and brush from under trees.
  • Remove unsightly fencing in and around park and smooth for mowing.
2) Preserve and increase tree canopy coverage.
While a "diamond in the rough," Love Circle Park already enjoys a significant amount of natural habitat and lush tree canopy. The plan would build on these assets by preserving the existing canopy and planting more trees.
  • Leave dense vegetation on east end of park for animals and as a buffer to Jacksboro Highway.
  • Plant 50+ new trees to reforest damaged area.
3) Build professional grade jogging trail in park with connections to existing and forthcoming park assets.
Currently, neighbors and citizens from around the area daily converge on Love Circle to walk around the park. The plan would build on this community need for a walking and jogging area by including a scenic course. Moreover, this track would provide a connection to new and existing recreational assets such as Casino Beach and the Fort Worth Nature Center.
  • Plan for under-bridge connection to Casino Beach (when redeveloped) and Trinity Bike Trails (when installed).
  • Connect to new pedestrian entrance to Fort Worth Nature Center.
4) Enhance Park and Neighborhood Safety.
In its abandoned and neglected state, Love Circle Park and some of the adjacent land has been a magnet for crime and misuse. Vagrants have been found living in the dense brush clumps. Sexual and drug offenders have been found parked on the abandoned roadbeds. Drive by theft continues to occur on a regular basis. While no plan can completely eliminate crime, measures can be taken to reduce the area's attractiveness for misbehavior.
  • Remove old unused and unnecessary roadbeds.
  • Install new parking lot.
  • Install traffic control around park (e.g. cabling).
  • Secure TXDOT property on west end of Jacksboro Highway bridge with traffic control measures.
  • Reduce potential crime by reducing traffic from Jacksboro Highway.
    • Turn the east end of Love Circle into a cul-de-sac.
    • Post signs at west end that Love Circle is "Not a Thru Street."

8801 Watercress - What Is This?

Neighbors have noticed some unusual constructions at 8801 Watercress. It does not appear to be residential construction. On a regular sized residential lot, twelve stubs for water and electric have been placed around the perimeter and surrounded by a tall fence. Moreover, many trenches have been dug from around the property to the existing septic tank aparently for several drains. When workers were asked what the contruction was for, they were evasive and would not answer.

Neighbors within the Scenic Shores Neighborhood Association fear that the construction represents something other than legitimate residential construction.

Eating Fish From Lake Worth

There is a lot of misinformation about whether or not you should eat fish from Lake Worth. The truth is this. In 2000, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) issued a fish advisory stating that people should not eat the fish at Lake Worth due to PCB contamination.

On November 15, 2010, the DSHS issued a new report showing improvement in fish quality. Four of seven species studied showed improvement:

“DSHS tested tissue samples from seven species of fish as part of a re-evaluation of the lake.

Analysis found levels of PCBs in blue catfish and smallmouth buffalo that exceed DSHS standards, indicating that consumption of those fish pose a risk to human health. The combination of PCBs, aldrin and dieldrin found in channel catfish also pose a risk to human health.

DSHS did not find elevated levels of contaminants in samples of common carp, freshwater drum, largemouth bass or white crappie collected from Lake Worth.”

I have listed the old and new studies below:
(Be sure to disable your popup blocker.)

New Study and Advisory Documents (2010):

Characterization of Potential Adverse Health Effects Associated
with Consuming Fish from Lake Worth
- This is the full report describing the study and the resulting advisory.

FAQ’s Associated with the Lake Worth Fish Consumption Advisory - This is a quick set of Frequently Asked Questions regarding report.

Advisory Summary - This is a one page bullet point summary of the advisory.

Texas Department of State Health Services
Fish and Shellfish Consumption Advisory
- This is a one page editorial summary of the advisory.

DSHS Issues Fish Advisory for Lake Worth - This is a one page press release of the study.


Old Advisory Documents (2000):
Texas Department of Health - Study of Fish Quality
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality - Study and Plan for PCB Reduction
Texas Parks and Wildlife - Fish Eating Advisory

Home Security Tips

The following guidelines should be used in reviewing your residential security.

  • Lock up portable valuables (tools, etc.). Don't leave portable valuables visible from street.
  • Put up "No Soliciting" signs.
  • Install motion detecting lights in approapriate places.
  • Appropriately secure firearms.
  • If using a firearm is part of your defensive plan, be proficient in it use (i.e. practice).
  • All entrances, including service doors and gates, should have quality locks--preferably deadbolt.
  • Don't leave keys "hidden" outside the home. Leave an extra key with a trusted neighbor or colleague.
  • Keep doors locked even when you or family members are at home.
  • Have window locks installed on all windows. Use them.
  • Lock louvered windows--especially on the ground floor.
  • Have locks installed on your fuse boxes and external power sources.
  • If you have window grilles and bars, review fire safety.
  • Don't block bedroom windows with permanent grilles if the windows may be used for emergency egress.
  • If you have burglar or intrusion alarms, check and use them.
  • Keep at least one fire extinguisher on each floor, and be sure to keep one in the kitchen. Show family members and household help how to use them.
  • Periodically check smoke detectors and replace batteries when necessary.
  • Keep flashlights in several areas in the house. Check the batteries often, especially if you have children in your home. (They love to play with flashlights!)
  • A family dog can be a deterrent to criminals. But remember, even the best watch-dog can be controlled by food or poison.
  • Do not install separate "doggy doors" or entrances. They also can admit small intruders.
  • Know your neighbors. Develop a rapport with them and offer to keep an eye on each other's homes, especially during trips.
  • If you observe any unusual activity, report it immediately to the police.
  • While at home, you and your family should rehearse safety drills and be aware of procedures to escape danger and get help.
  • Educate family members and domestic help in the proper way to answer the telephone at home.

Home Security While You Are Away

  • Notify your trusted neighbors and/or family members of your departure and return dates but don't otherwise publicize your travel or vacation plans.
  • Leave contact numbers with them.
  • Arrange to have a friend or colleague pick up your newspapers, mail, or other deliveries daily.
  • Secure your home. Close and lock all windows and doors. Don't forget to lock garage or gate doors.
  • Consider purchasing timers to turn on outside and inside lights automatically at various times throughout the night.
  • Check outside lighting and replace older light bulbs. You don't want a light burning out while you are away.
  • Ask a friend or colleague to check your residence periodically, ensuring your furnace or air conditioning is functioning and that timers and lights are working.
  • Unplug all unnecessary appliances such as televisions, stereos, and personal computers.
  • Mow your lawn just before leaving; make arrangements to have someone mow it again if you will be gone for an extended period of time. Also arrange for watering, if that is likely to be needed.
  • If possible, ask a neighbor to park a car in your driveway (if you are taking yours).
  • Lock all jewelry, important papers, currency, and other valuable portables in a safe place such as a safe deposit box or home safe.
  • Ensure all personal and home insurance policies are up-to-date and that your coverage is adequate.

Strange Boat on Lake Signals Dredging On The Way - February 9, 2009

February 9, 2009

I received the following question from a neighbor:

"For a couple of days last week there was a large cabin enclosed potoon boat in the vacinity from Goat Island to Camp Joy. The boat had a dingy. The boat stayed out there from early morning until late evening. There was a small remote control boat (or board) with a yellow sail in the middle of it. The large boat would sit in the middle of the lake and apparently controled the small remote boat. The remote boat would travel methodically slowly in circles around the cove, sometimes close to the shores and around the dock. There were 2 people in the boat. We guessed they may be sampling water or measuring depth - Do you knew what this activity was?"

Answer: It is a crew performing a "bathymetric survey." In essence, this survey will map the entire topography of the lake bottom. This information will allow the Water Department to keep costs down when getting bids on the dredge as well as to specifically identify the problem areas in the lake.

Another neighbor took the pictures above.

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." Paul.Bounds@fortworthgov.org
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 2010 12:58:27 -0500
To: "'Michael Dallas, CFP'" michaeldallas@michaeldallas.com
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)