More Wilroy well problems

Published 10:05 pm Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Folks on a private lane off Wilroy Road don’t know where their water will be coming from in two weeks.

A group of four houses there share a well, and the house where the well is located is set to go into foreclosure on Feb. 18. The power at that house has been off for some time, and another of the neighbors ran power from his home to keep the well going in the interim.

One of the neighbors, Azalea Spruill, brought the problem to the attention of City Council last year by speaking at a meeting. She shared her story with the Suffolk News-Herald in August.

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The group of four houses off a private lane came into being in 1998, when the lot was subdivided into four parcels via the family transfer ordinance, which is meant to allow families in rural areas to live close to each other but has sometimes been abused for profit.

One of the provisions of the ordinance states recipients of homes via family transfer must hold onto the property for 10 years, but the Spruills purchased their home in 2006, two years before it was supposed to be available for sale.

The four neighbors relied on a well agreement that referenced the original owners of the house with the well, so it would seem to be void now that they’ve moved out. City documents from when the transfer took place say the homes were supposed to be served by city water.

Spruill says she has gotten no help from the city and cannot find a lawyer to take her case.

“Everybody’s afraid of people in the city of Suffolk,” she said. “I think everybody’s scared. When they look at it, they back away.”

The Spruills cannot put in their own well because of the location of their septic drain fields and couldn’t afford it even if there were room, she said. The cost of getting city water also is too “astronomical” for the aging Spruills, she added. Azalea Spruill said she is almost 70.

They don’t know what will happen when the adjacent property with the well is auctioned off on Feb. 18.

“I don’t know where that leaves us when somebody buys the property,” she said. “I’m having a hard time paying for my husband’s medicine, much less paying for a well. At my age, I can’t afford to drop it.”