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Planning Commission to consider two variance requests

The Grand Marais City Council meets the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month, but in between there are frequently meetings of the committees that bring matters forward to the council. That is the case this week, as both the Grand Marais Public Utilities Commission and the Grand Marais Planning Commission meet on Wednesday.

The Public Utilities Commission meets at 3 p.m. at city hall. A likely subject on the agenda will be the repair and replacement of the wastewater lines along Highway 61 on the west side of Grand Marais. The PUC is on a tight deadline to get this completed and the temporary above-ground sewer pipe installed before winter hits.

Also on Wednesday, the Grand Marais Planning Commission will be meeting at 4 p.m.

Two variances are on the agenda, the first for Anna & Sarah Hamilton, for their property at 902 West 5th Avenue West. The Hamiltons are requesting permission to build a 16-foot wide residential structure on a lot 300-square feet less than the required city lot. The Hamiltons are working on an affordable housing project.

The second variance request is from Berner Properties, for the property between the Harbor Inn and the Java Moose coffee shop on Wisconsin Street. The Ogema Realty building on that lot was demolished earlier this year.

Berner Properties is requesting a variance to construct a 31.5-foot tall building, taller than the maximum allowed height of 30-feet. Berner Properties describes the proposed building as a three-story building with retail use on the ground level. Berner Properties explains that it wants the additional 18 inches of building height because it desires “upscale retail ceiling height” for the first floor.