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SOUTH SACRAMENTO, CA - What was an eyesore in some south Sacramento backyards along Highway 99 is nowopen backyard space.

The land used to belong to a state agency, but now homeowners have a piece of land near a soundwall and it cost just a buck.

It'spart of the Highway 99 Soundwall Community Safety and Enhancement Project for home along the east side of 99 between 12th Avenue and 47th Avenue.

Until now, the homes werea magnet for trespassers over the years. This space used to beCaltrans' property, maintained with taxpayer dollars. Now after forking over just $1, some homeowners can call it their own.

"I put plants here," said Gregorio Caraes, one of the homeowners. Several feet were added to his backyard, giving him space for a garden of tomato and squash plants.

Caltrans contacted 44 homeowners living next to the soundwall, offering them the land. Thirty-eight took the offer, adding five to 20 feet to their backyards.

Some neighbors, though, remain concerned Caltrans won't pay enough attention to the land it still owns near the soundwall.

"I think it's unfair. They need to maintain the rest of it," said neighbor Glennie Lee.

As for additional property taxes the homeowner might be liable for, Caltrans right-of-way agent Eva-Marie Gordon, said, "No, we'll work with the county accessor's office. Their taxes will go up approximately a penny."

That's because Caltrans sold the space for what's called an underlying fee, giving them the option to take it back for future highway use.

Homeowners can use the land for a garden, even a dog run. The only catch: No permanent structures are allowed on the land.

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