Council member Craig Hosmer closely questioned Springfield Planning Director Susan Istenes at the May 22 Springfield City Council meeting. (Photo by Jym Wilson)

Springfield Planning and Development Director Susan Istenes abruptly resigned on Tuesday, May 23, after less than 15 months in the position.

The resignation was effective immediately, according to city spokesperson Cora Scott. 

Assistant Director Brendon Griesemer will take on the leading role in the planning department in the interim while the city seeks out a permanent replacement, according to Scott.

Istenes’ resignation came a day after a contentious City Council meeting, in which she appeared to have difficulty answering questions posed by council members, primarily related to a rezoning case in University Heights and a 210-day moratorium on aspects of development on nearby stretches of Sunshine Street and National Avenue.

City staff recommended against the moratorium and approval of developer BK&M’s rezoning request, which has sparked strong opposition from neighborhood residents.

Prior to starting the job in Springfield in January of 2022, Isentes worked in planning roles for the city of Clayton, Missouri, a St. Louis suburb and Collier County, Florida.

She studied horticultural science and urban and regional planning at Virginia Tech.

Springfield Planning Director Susan Istenes speaks before at the May 22 Springfield City Council meeting. (Photo by Jym Wilson)