Correction to This Article
A July 14 Metro article about the intercounty connector misstated the first name of the project's director. She is Melinda Peters, not Melanie Peters.
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Loss of Back Yards Riles Some Owners

The state would pay for the land it takes, but McCarthy said there is no way to put a price tag on this particular piece of property.

"You can't come up with a dollar sign and take the land from us and think that's a compensatory amount," she said. "There isn't one for us. But not being told about it just hit us."

McCarthy and other residents and environmentalists packed the Planning Board meeting to protest the highway, saying the public is being shut out of the design process now that the project has been approved -- a charge officials denied.

In Shady Grove Woods, McCarthy wasn't the only one surprised to learn that she would be forced to sell a piece of her property. At least four other neighbors were stunned as well, said Connie McKenna, of the neighborhood homeowners association. "We don't know who is looking out for us," she said.

In Rockville, Eric Moreno said he, too, was shocked to learn that he'd lose part of his back yard. He said he went to one of the public meetings at a nearby school and was told, "There are going to be no problems with your property whatsoever."

Moreno, who owns a small business that improves the quality of indoor air, said he was "blindsided" when he got the letter a couple of weeks ago informing him that the state was, in fact, going to force him to sell a part of his property. "No one had said anything about this," Moreno said.

Daniel Chow, also of Derwood, said he learned at a public meeting several months ago that the state was considering taking a small part of his back yard. But when he tried to find out if that really would happen, the economist for the Bureau of Labor Statistics said he got no answers until the letter arrived in his mailbox two weeks ago.

"I would have liked more communication and more input," Chow said. "I basically feel like I've been ignored."

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