Eminent Domain Law Firm

Land Use, Real Property and Environmental Law

About Matteoni

Our People and Our Focus
Property law is complex
Let our experts help

Matteoni, O’Laughlin & Hechtman is widely respected as one of the leading eminent domain (condemnation), land use, real property and
environmental law firms in California. Our specialized knowledge and extensive experience in these complex areas of law have allowed us to consistently
provide favorable results for our clients.

Founded in 1979 by Norman Matteoni — author of “Condemnation Practice in California”

Condemnation Practice Book

Matteoni, O’Laughlin & Hechtman represents property owners, businesses and public agencies throughout California.

We are honored to receive recognition from the 2010-2013 U.S. News and World Report as:

“Best Law Firms – Metropolitan First Tier Litigation Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law”


“Best Law Firms – Metropolitan First Tier Land Use and Zoning Law”

Our office is in a historic 1881 building located in central San Jose.


Eminent Domain

In condemnation actions our firm primarily represents the property and business owners. Our client mix is diverse including publicly held corporations, smal businesses, farm/ranch owners, commercial and industrial property owners and developers. We work to get our clients the highest value for their land and improvements that are taken, for damages to their remaining land when the take is partial and for their loss of business goodwill.  We also represent owners challenging the right of the government’s take or suing the government in an inverse condemnation action.  On the public agency side, we do select work.

Land Use

We advise and process applications for our clients on general plan amendments, rezonings, use and site approval permits, Williamson Act contracts and subdivision maps. We have appeared before local governments throughout the Bay Area and Central California for land use approvals on projects ranging from residential developments, corporate campuses, quarries, recycling facilities, landfills, golf courses, and shopping centers to cellular/radio towers. We provide litigation services to defend or challenge the government action.

Environmental Law

We provide advice, advocacy and litigation services to developers, landowners and users on compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) required for development approvals.

Real Estate

Our practice includes the negotiation, review and drafting of commercial leases, purchase and sale transaction documents, and easement agreements. We provide litigation services for a variety of real property matters including quiet title actions, easement and CC&Rs disputes.

Meet the team
Norman Matteoni

Norman E. Matteoni

Founder and Managing Partner

Learn More

Peggy M. O'Laughlin

Peggy M. O’Laughlin


Learn More

Barton G. Hechtman

Barton G. Hechtman


Learn More

Bradley Matteoni

Bradley M. Matteoni


Learn More

Gerry Houlihan

Gerry Houlihan


Learn More


Where We Focus
  • LA Freeways

Highways & Roads

Represented landowners throughout Northern California for total and partial takes—e.g. agricultural, nurseries, restaurants, service stations, packing plants, industrial, professional office, commercial, racing pigeon facility, motel, residential and pet cemetery. Clients included Sobrato Development, Oakridge Golf Course, Arcadia Development and California Giant Berry Farms.

  • CA High Speed Rail
  • BART

Mass Transit

Clients include the Hertz Corporation whose Pacific Operation site in Millbrae was taken for a BART station and numerous owners whose land was partially taken for the Santa Clara Valley light rail including SJW Land, Coherent Inc., Peery & Arrillaga, San Jose V Investors, Marbury REIFF and Macy’s. The firm is currently advising and representing clients with issues related to BART’s extension into Santa Clara County and the California high speed rail project.

  • Power Transmission Lines

Eminent Domain Power Lines Projects

Represented property owners in the take of property for high voltage eminent domain power lines easements seeking substantial severance damages. The properties include unimproved land in the McCarthy Business Park, Milpitas, ranch land with residential development potential for Harris Ranch, Coalinga, an office complex for Catellus Development, San Jose and an R&D park owned by ProLogis, Fremont.

  • Redevelopment Project

City and School District Projects

Represented property owners such as Barry Swenson builders whose office building in Stockton was taken and business owners of gas stations, warehouses, markets, shopping centers, a radio station, machine shop, a walnut processing plant, and printing facility whose property was taken for various city projects.

Represented developer Glen Loma for the take of their property by Morgan Hill Unified School District.

We represented the owners of the Tropicana Shopping Center, in their successful challenge against San Jose’s attempt to take their property.

On the government side we represented the City of Half Moon Bay Community Development for the take of property for a golf-course residential community and Salinas Union High School District’s condemnation for an adult education center and for the Salinas High School Expansion.

  • Guadalupe River Park

Eminent Domain Water Rights

Represented owners in the takes of their property for flood control projects such as the Guadalupe River project in San Jose and the Bay Delta Conservation Plan Conveyance Tunnel (new peripheral canal). For a 43-mile water pipeline project by the Metropolitan Water District, we represented on appeal Campus Crusade for Christ Inc., owner of the property where the former Arrowhead Resort is situated in the San Bernardino Mountains.

  • Boulder Ridge Golf Course

Golf Courses and Recreation Clubs

Processed land use approvals for the golf courses of Boulder Ridge, San Juan Oaks, Cinnabar Hills, and CordeValle. In the case of Boulder Ridge, defended environmental challenge in court and successfully prosecuted inverse action over excess open space dedication, then negotiated settlement. Also represented various recreation clubs regarding permit compliance and Garrod Farms Riding Stables and Winery in Saratoga for a variety of land use issues both city and county.

  • USC Broad Campus

Industrial and R&D Campuses, Retail

Processed general plan amendments and zoning for Silicon Valley industrial campuses such as Syntex in Evergreen and IBM’s Almaden Research Lab on 600 acres in south San Jose. Processed the permit for the Great Mall renovation in Milpitas for Swerdlow Co., for Home Depot and other big box retailers.

  • Landfill

Recycling Facilities, Landfills and Quarries

Processed local, state and federal land use approvals for new and expanding sanitary landfills and recycling centers, including Kirby Canyon, Guadalupe, Recology Zanker Resource Recovery, Z-Best Compost and Recology. Successfully defended environmental challenges to Kirby Canyon and Guadalupe Landfills. Also processed permits for Stevens Creek and Lexington quarries.

  • San Jose Residential Community

Residential Development

Processed general plan amendments and zoning for several residential developments, including Silver Creek Planned Residential Community of 1500 homes and golf course in the Evergreen hillside area.

  • Cellular Transmission Tower

Telecommunication Towers and Cellular Facilities

Obtained approvals for telecommunication towers for  Clear Channel Radio, and for numerous cellular facilities throughout the greater Bay Area. For GTE Mobilnet (now Verizon) negotiated the leases for their cellular sites.

Selected Court Decisions

Contact Matteoni

To Contact Us