Staff Spotlight — Meet our Executive Director

Posted October 21, 2021


If you've attended one of the Chester County Planning Commission's meetings or events, you might have seen our Executive Director, Brian O'Leary, say a few words or provide a presentation. As the face of the Chester County Planning Commission, Brian plays many key roles that contribute to the success of the organization!

After going to school in Baltimore and seeing the redevelopment of the Inner Harbor, as well as studying abroad in Bologna, Italy, Brian found a strong interest in places and how they develop. Brian pursued his passion for planning and spent 28 years with the Montgomery County Planning Commission, where he helped run the urban revitalization program and initiated an agricultural land preservation program. In 2015, he was appointed as the Executive Director of the Chester County Planning Commission.

As the Executive Director, Brian manages the implementation of Landscapes3 (the county's comprehensive plan) and helps administer the Planning Commission's three boards — the Planning Commission Board, the Environmental and Energy Advisory Board, and the Agricultural Development Council. He often gets more involved in specific county wide initiatives such as the restoration of passenger rail to Phoenixville, the analysis of the county economy, and the county's housing choices committee.

"I've had the great fortune to work on a wide range of interesting projects and love planning because of the variety of work involved, which ranges from design and writing to data crunching and legal analysis," Brian commented. "I especially enjoy land use planning and am very proud of Landscapes3 and other comprehensive plans that I helped prepare, as well as transfer of development rights and mixed-use model ordinances that I wrote."


Ever since visiting for a hiking trip in his youth, one of Brian's favorite places in Chester County is St. Peters Village. "The giant boulders, rushing stream, gnarled sycamores, and nearby shops and restaurants create a very unique atmosphere," he said.

In his spare time, Brian can most likely be outdoors — biking or hiking with his family, kayaking on local streams, or playing disc golf with friends. At home (when he's not fixing things around the house), Brian enjoys gardening, woodworking, painting, and making wood block prints. He also enjoys exploring new places, discovering hidden and quirky restaurants, food purveyors, and historic sites.

To see the full list of Chester County Planning Commission Staff, please visit out staff directly.