About

The Planning Commission is made up of 21 members serving three-year terms, with an opportunity to be reappointed for two terms. Members are appointed by the Mayor and approved by the City Council. They meet every other Friday, and serve on at least one additional committee: Communications and Nominations, Comprehensive and Neighborhood Planning, Zoning, or Transportation.

Planning Commission Applications 

Apply to serve!  The Planning Commission has one vacancy in Ward 2 (West Side, West 7th, Downtown or Summit Hill), Ward 5 (North End, Como, Payne Phalen), and Ward 6 (Payne Phalen, Greater East Side), and two vacancies in Ward 4 (Hamline Midway, Union Park, St. Anthony Park).  Individuals who reflect Saint Paul's diversity are encouraged to apply. 

Apply for the Planning Commission 

Could I be a Planning Commissioner?

Planning Commissioners have diverse backgrounds in community development, including:

  • Architecture, civil engineering, and/or urban design
  • Arts and/or culturally-based programming
  • Business/economic development
  • City/urban planning, geography
  • Community organizing
  • Housing advocacy, development, and/or finance
  • Public administration and/or finance
  • Law
  • Real estate
  • Youth and/or professional leadership

Members

Contact Information

Luis Rangel Morales, Chair
Committees: Comprehensive and Neighborhood Planning, Zoning
Residency: Ward 3, Macalester-Groveland
Term expires: January 2023

Luis Rangel Morales is a Staff Attorney and Director of Community Outreach for the Neighborhood Service Center (“NJC”). NJC is a non-profit criminal defense organization that helps low income community members receive criminal defense services in Ramsey, Dakota, and Washington county. Mr. Rangel Morales graduated summa cum laude from the University of St. Thomas and cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School.


Kristine Grill, First Vice Chair 
Committees: Comprehensive and Neighborhood Planning, Zoning
Residency: Ward 3, Highland
Term expires: January 2024

Kristine Grill is Ramsey County, Minnesota’s first Open Data Portal Coordinator. She holds a B.S. in political science and public administration from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and a master’s degree in public administration from Minnesota State University, Mankato. She is responsible for working closely with county departments to continually improve the range and quality of public data available and to identify ways to increase usage of the portal by the public, employees and partner organizations. She has served Ramsey County in a variety of roles since 2010. Her interests include attempting work on her 100-year-old house in Ward 3 of Saint Paul, hiking with her rescue dog Helga, and volunteering in her neighborhood. 


Wendy Underwood, Second Vice Chair

Committees: Communication and Nomination (Chair), Transportation
Residency: Ward 2, West 7th/Fort Road
Term expires: January 2023

Wendy Underwood lives in the West Seventh neighborhood of Saint Paul. She is currently the Senior Director of Advocacy and Government Affairs with the Office for Social Justice at Catholic Charities of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. She has served in a variety of leadership roles at the Minnesota Department of Human Services and Target Corporation. Wendy also served as Director of Government Affairs for the City of Saint Paul. Wendy is currently a board member of the Fort Road Federation District Council and serves on various state and local community advisory boards. Wendy and her husband, Darren Tobolt, enjoy volunteering in the neighborhood and working on projects with their 1882 Victorian home.

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Nieeta Presley, Secretary
Committees: Comprehensive and Neighborhood Planning Committee
Residency: Ward 7, Dayton's Bluff 
Term expires: October 2023

Retired Executive Director of Aurora/St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation.  Nieeta is the owner of New Life Possibilities, LLC (2020) -Consultant- "Looking Beyond the Opportunities by Creating the Greatest Possibilities for New Life Purposes."  Collaborating with other organizations and institutions to bring services to ASANDC and to give the neighborhood a voice in a number of planning processes and decisions.  Nieeta has been instrumental in playing lead roles in bringing people and cross-sector organizations collectively together to engage in community building and advocacy to ensure equity, social and racial justice for our communities.  She has engaged a broad set of community members in project activities, including families with low incomes, communities of color, and immigrant and refugee populations.  Her specialty is in leadership development creating opportunities for emerging resident leaders.  


Anne DeJoy
Committee: Zoning
Residency: Ward 6, Greater East Side
Term expires: Expires January 1, 2022

Anne DeJoy has more than 25 years’ experience in community-based economic development. For ten years, DeJoy served as the Executive Director of the Riverview Economic Development Association (REDA). She was appointed as an Assistant to the Mayor in 1999 where she served under two administrations. DeJoy is an alumna of Middlesex College in New Jersey where she studied Marketing Art and Design. She received training in Economic Development and Real Estate Finance from the National Development Council (NDC) and completed Economic Development Strategies training by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). DeJoy received a proclamation from Governor Carlson for her leadership on the Economic Development Committee for the Chicano Latino Affairs Council. She has participated in panel discussions focused on economic development and neighborhood planning and has served on numerous boards and committees including the West Side Citizen’s Organization, Saint Paul Riverfront Corporation, Mayor’s Committee on Cultural Relations, Neighborhood Justice Center and the Payne Arcade Business Association and others. DeJoy is currently the Director of Commercial Development for the East Side Neighborhood Development Company, Inc.


Richard Holst
Committees: Comprehensive and Neighborhood Planning (Chair)
Residency: Ward 5 
Term expires: January 2024
 


Nathaniel Hood
Committee: Zoning
Residency: Ward 3, Highland
Term expires: January 2022

Nathaniel Hood is a dad, husband and bike commuter. He resides in Ward 3 and works for Hennepin County in Community Works. Previously, Nate was on the Highland District Council and chaired its Transportation Committee.


Garrison McMurtrey
Committees: Comprehensive and Neighborhood Planning, Transportation
Residency: Ward 4, St. Anthony Park
Term expires: July  2023

Garrison McMurtrey currently works as a Communications Business Partner at Target.  His role includes a focus on stakeholder engagement, D&I and supporting one of the C-Suite executives.  Prior to joining Target in 2017, Garrison served as an Outreach Director to Senator Amy Klobuchar, where he led community engagement in the areas of business, workforce development communities of color, and consumer protection.  

Garrison is also a board member for the MN Youth Collective.  He has a B.S. in Political Science and Communication from Ripon College and a Master's in Public Policy from the University of Minnesota.  Garrison and his wife Clare live in the Como Park neighborhood. 


Jake Reilly 
Committees: Zoning (Chair), Communications-Nominations 
Residency: Ward 6, 
Term expires: January 2024

Jake Reilly is a Senior Planner with the Metropolitan Council, the regional policy-making body, planning agency, and provider of essential services for the seven-county Twin Cities, MN region.  As a member of the Local Planning Assistance team Jake serves as liaison between the Council and local governments, providing technical assistance related to developing and implementing local comprehensive plans aligned with the regional policy outcomes of stewardship, prosperity, equity, livability, and sustainability.  Before joining the Metropolitan Council staff, Jake worked as a senior planner for the City of Saint Paul for nearly 10 years.  He holds a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Minnesota and a BA from St. Olaf College.  He is a product of the Hartford, CT public schools.  

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Jeff Risberg
Committees: Transportation (Chair)
Residency: Ward 1, Union Park
Term expires: January 2022

Since moving with his wife to St. Paul from San Francisco in 1990, Jeff has been committed to building a stronger community. He is a planning director at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, working on a wide range of water policy, stakeholder engagement, and program development issues. Jeff also had the honor of serving as a Director on the St. Paul School Board in 2011 and has served on the boards of several local nonprofit education, community and conservation organizations. Prior to working for the State of Minnesota, his broad career has included nonprofit management as executive director of the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, corporate public relations and marketing, and he served on legislative staffs in Congress and the Office of the Vice President. He enjoys outdoor recreation with his family in all four of Minnesota's seasons, and is an avid fisherman and swimmer. 
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Omar Syed
Committees: Zoning, Transportation
Residency: Ward 1, Summit-University 
Term Expires: July 2023

Omar Syed is Somali American, resident Summit/University, Ward 1 Saint Paul.  He is a small business owner of a coffee shop since 2008 on the ease side of Saint Paul.  He worked at Mhealth Fairview Health Department, also on the Saint Paul School Board.  Currently he is a member of Somali Parent Advisory Council, Saint Paul Somali Caucus, East African Chamber of Commerce, Minnesota.  Mr. Syed's an advisor of Neighbors United Funding Collaborative. 


Simon Taghioff
Committees: Zoning 
Residency: Ward 2
Term expires: January 2024


Zhijun Yang
Committees: Comprehensive and Neighborhood Planning, Communications and Nominations
Residency: Ward 6
Term expires: January 2024

Zhijun Yang is a faculty at Metropolitan State University teaching finance and real estate.  He obtained PhD from Old Dominion University and MS from Mississippi State University.  He is interested in homeownership equity issues as well as low-income housing challenges in Twin Cities.  He loves travel and is a super fan of the Vikings. 

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Libby Kantner
Committee:  Comprehensive and Neighborhood Planning, Communications-Nominations  
Residency: Ward 1
Term expires: January 2024

Libby Kantner is a life-long Ward 1 resident and a constant advocate for Saint Paul.  She works as a public finance attorney for Kennedy & Graven, helping local governments across Minnesota fund important projects.  Previously, Libby worked at the City of Saint Paul in multiple capacities, including as a Legislative Aide to Councilmember Tolbert, as the Coordinator for the Police Civilian Internal Affairs Review Commission, and very briefly as a ticketer during snow emergencies.  Libby holds a J.D. from Mitchell Hamline School of Law and a B.S. in political science and women's studies from Hamline University.  Her interests include adventuring through state parks with her dog, Charlie, and her husband, Luke, binging a hodgepodge of podcasts, and trying out new restaurants.  

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Deborah Mitchell
Committees: Comprehensive and Neighborhood Planning, Communications-Nominations 
Residency: Ward 7
Term expires Expires March 2024
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Stephen Moore
Committee: Comprehensive and Neighborhood Planning
Residency: Ward 7, 
Term expires: January 2024

Stephen Moore is the CEO of Culture Booster Inc. Culture Booster is a software company that enables executives, managers, and employees to work arm in arm to build a workplace culture where everyone thrives.  Stephen has excelled in the retail automotive industry for nearly two decades, working directly with and for dealerships across the nation.  He specializes in working with leadership development, communication techniques, and onboarding programs.  In addition, Stephen is a certified DISC practitioner and sought after speaker.  Stephen holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Studies with a minor in Multicultural Education from Metropolitan State University.  
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Seanne Thomas
Committee: Comprehensive and Neighborhood Planning
Residency: Ward 5, 
Term expires: January 2024

Seann Thomas lives and works on the East Side of St. Paul.  She has three young adult sons and a husband.  She owns and is the principal broker of ABC Realty, LLC where they specialize in representing buyers and sellers in the twin cities metro and surrounding areas as well as exploring and lifting community voice around housing equity.  Seanne also works with non-profit housing developers to bring affordable, quality new construction housing to the market. 

Last Edited: October 27, 2021