The mission of the Cook County Chamber of Commerce is to be the representative voice of county for-profit and non-profit businesses
in working to improve the county economy and to address pressing county socioeconomic issues.
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Welcome to the Chamber
An important video and a request for immediate feedback are at this site: https://youtu.be/6pYLPkkYIpY
Some months ago, at the request of several merchants, the Chamber approached the Grand Marais Planning and Zoning Commission with a request that it consider restricting new street-level lodging in downtown. The idea was to protect existing retail and dining establishments -- the core of Grand Marais' appeal to visitors -- from pressure to convert to vacation rental lodging at street level.
While lodging on the second floor and above contributes to the vitality of a downtown, street-level lodging can have the reverse effect. We wanted the city to take action to prevent that.
As you will see at the You Tube site, below the video window is a description of three changes proposed for to the Grand Marais zoning ordinance. Those changes would accomplish the following:
1. Lodging on the first floor on a building would change from a permitted use to a conditional use. 2. New definition added: “Storefront Area. A separately enclosed portion of a structure with storefront windows or an entrance, adjacent to or within 15’ of a public right-of-way.” 3. Limit allowed uses in storefront area to retail. Pedestrian oriented service uses can be allowed with planning commission approval if they generate substantial walk-in traffic, are open standard hours 9-9 and weekends, and/or promote Grand Marais as a retail or cultural destination.
Your immediate feedback is needed. Do you support these changes? Would you prefer a different approach? Are there things you think should be added? (During discussion Wednesday morning among downtown merchants, a number of people expressed the view that the zoning ordinance also should require off-street parking for any new lodging approved downtown, for example.)
While many of you do not live or do business in Grand Marais, its continued viability as a retail and dining center will have a significant effect on the future of the entire county economy. Please let your voice be heard on this no matter where you live and do business in Cook County.
Progress made on Chamber legislative priorities
Despite a chaotic 2017 session of the Minnesota Legislature, when the dust settled it became clear... read more
Cook County Economic Dashboard