Dream Home Winner's Request Denied - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

6/22/05-Tyler

Dream Home Winner's Request Denied

Don Cruz was the first item Tyler City Council addressed this morning. The once out-spoken winner of the HGTV dream home, used a soft-spoken voice to make his request. "All I'm here to ask is to rent out the boat house and master bedroom suite," says Cruz addressing council members.

But just as Cruz wanted answers to his question, Tyler City Council members would first have questions of their own. Mayor Joey Seeber asked, "You understood certainly when you entered and then when you ultimately won that there was a significant tax burden that you would have to take care of?." "We didn't know the tax burden until we won," said Cruz. "And HGTV did tell us we would owe taxes for winnings the night before."

Cruz says he could make $2,000 a night renting the master bedroom and $3,000 a night for the boat house. District 6 Council Member Charles Alworth says the math still wouldn't add up, considering the income needed to cover taxes and living expenses.

"So even if the council considered some of the exceptions recommended, if we allow this for a month, three months, a year it's putting off the inevitable. I just don't see it happening. I hear from many citizens who live on the lake that they don't really care for any commercial development and that's all I have to say. I guess I'm the bad guy. I'm going to put the numbers down on a piece of paper."

Council was also informed about the risk of contaminating Lake Tyler if homes are used for commercial use. Then, decision time: Council voted unanimously to deny the motion to change the terms of the lease agreement. Cruz left the meeting immediately and had only this to say to the media, "I love Tyler and I love people in Tyler and we're going to try everything we can to stay. [The City Council members] are all nice people."

Cruz came to Tyler beating the odds winning the dream home, but since City Council's decision is final, the gamble didn't pay off this time.

Christine Nelson reporting. cnelson@kltv.com

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