Part of Isle of Wight County lake for sale

Published 4:50 pm Friday, April 5, 2024

A 5-7% slice of Lake Tormentor can be yours for the right price.

It’s not lakefront land or a house that Isle of Wight County is selling at auction for nonpayment of real estate taxes. It’s the lake itself. According to the county’s GIS map, over 98% of the 5-acre Days Point Road parcel is underwater.

It’s one of seven pieces of land Virginia Auction Co. is working to sell on behalf of Isle of Wight and Southampton counties and the city of Newport News at an online-only auction set to begin at 10 a.m. on April 16. Bids will be accepted at through 10 a.m. on April 23.

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County records list Land Depository LLC as having purchased the Lake Tormentor parcel, and another 37-acre parcel bordering the James River in Carrollton 5 miles away, on the same day in 2017. Both parcels are among the seven being auctioned.

Land Depository LLC was formed two months prior to the 2017 sales, on Dec. 8, 2016, and the company became inactive in April 2020, according to State Corporation Commission records.

According to Isle of Wight County Treasurer Julie Slye, once the taxes owed on a piece of real estate are two years past due, her office sends out a 10-day notice. If the landowner responds, “we will work with them on a payment plan,” Slye said.

If the owner doesn’t respond, the matter is turned over to Jim Reid at Dolan Reid PLLC, a debt collection law firm.

Reid’s staff will then send up to two letters demanding payment and will order a title search on the property. If there is no response, a lawsuit is drafted, resulting in a court hearing that typically ends with the county being granted the authority to sell the property, Slye said. Then the auction is scheduled.

The Lake Tormentor parcel is valued at $3,000, according to county records. The James River parcel is valued at $37,500.

According to The Smithfield Times’ archives, Lake Tormentor was created in 1958 when a more than 600-foot-long dam was built to turn Tormentor Creek between Smithfield and Morgarts Beach into a nearly 100-acre lake to facilitate the passage of trucks on Days Point Road to the V.H. Monette warehouses serving military operations in the area.

In October 2006, when a nor’easter dumped roughly 16 inches of rain on Isle of Wight County, the deluge caused parts of the dam to collapse, sparking a dispute between the county and the Virginia Department of Transportation over which governing body should foot the then-$45,000 repair bill.

VDOT, at the time, took the position that it was not responsible for repairs to the dam. Assistant County Administrator Don Robertson said Isle of Wight was uncertain whether all of the repairs from the prior damage had been completed.

“It’s on private property,” Robertson said.