MATTHEWS – Vanessa Elias has been practicing immigration law since 2010 and has built a solid firm mostly through referrals. She has big plans for the growth of Elias Immigration Law. 

Elias has approached town commissioners about rezoning residential property in the downtown area so she can move her firm from 10020 Monroe Road to a house across the street from Aldi. 

“I am very excited because after all these years renting I’m going to own my own space,” she told commissioners during the Sept. 13 public hearing. “It’s dear to my heart.”

Elias doesn’t plan on tearing down the existing home at 556 W. John St. She plans to renovate it for business use as well as add a sidewalk, curb and gutter along Lois Street. 

The planning board will review the project Sept. 28. Commissioners may vote on the rezoning as early as Oct. 11. 

Commissioner Jeff Miller said he was encouraged by the project. Miller believes it’s on a good corner for development on a major thoroughfare. 

“It’s a blighted property but it has opportunities,” he said. 

Mayor Pro Tem Renee Garner remembered that her Randolph Middle School bus driver used to live in the house. 

Senior Planner Nadine Bennett said the town’s land-use plan doesn’t offer a specific recommendation for the 0.23-acre site but it encourages leaders to preserve the historic nature of the area. The downtown master plan includes the site as part of a potential West John Street Historic District. That plan recommends residential-style office cottages for vacant parcels. 

The public works department recommended a pad for the bus stop outside of the home. 

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