City of Grand Marais

Variance approval for Angry Trout and Planning Commission appointment at city meeting

The last meeting of the Grand Marais City Council for September included approval of a variance for the Angry Trout restaurant and the appointment of a new member of the Grand Marais Planning Commission.

The city council reviewed the variance request from George Wilkes of the Angry Trout, noting that the variance is required due to the restaurant’s proximity to Lake Superior. The variance was for an addition to the building on the back side of the structure, not nearer to the waterfront.

Basically, Council Member Anton Moody (who is doing the remodel for Angry Trout) explained, the Angry Trout was enclosing the waiting area for customers and to bring the restroom into the interior of the restaurant.

The variance request was granted by the council, with Councilor Moody abstaining because he is involved with the Angry Trout project.

The meeting was the first for newly-appointed City Councilor Tracy Benson. Benson’s appointment to fill the council vacancy created when Kelly Swearingen resigned meant another vacancy. Benson had served on the Grand Marais Planning Commission.

Tina Kraus had applied for the city council seat and when Benson was selected, the city council suggested that Kraus apply for a city board. Kraus did just that, putting her name in for the planning commission vacancy. The council voted unanimously to appoint Kraus to that board.

Citizens are still needed for another planning commission seat, the Grand Marais Public Utilities Commission and the Park Board. Anyone interested in serving on those commissions is encouraged to contact City Hall for more information by calling 218-387-1848 or emailing

The city is also seeking an apprentice lineworker. Information on that position is also available at City Hall.

The city accepted the Grand Marais Fire Department recommendation to hire a new firefighter, Sven Hogland. The fire department now has 15 active members.

The city also voted unanimously to accept a grant from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for work to be done on the large stormwater management pond below Highway 61 next to 8th Avenue. The water holding pond is not functioning as well as it could to prevent runoff from going into the creek that goes through the campground and ultimately to Lake Superior. Cook County Soil & Water is working on the development of this stormwater improvement project.

A final matter of business was the approval of liquor license renewals in the city. It was Councilor Craig Schulte’s turn to abstain as his business, Marathon, is one of the license holders. The motion was passed to approve all licenses as requested.

The next city council meeting will be Wednesday, September 13 at 6:30 p.m. at Grand Marais City Hall. Meetings are also live-streamed on the city’s YouTube channel.

WTIP’s Rhonda Silence spoke with Grand Marais Mayor Jay DeCoux about all of this. Here’s their conversation.