A bank president, an airline pilot and the founder of a popular Facebook group about zoning issues have announced runs for the Sandy Springs City Council seat recently vacated by Graham McDonald.

Chris Burnett

Chris Burnett, the market president of the Bank of Sandy Springs; Brian Eufinger, who runs the Sandy Springs Zoning Coalition group; and Joe Houseman, a Delta airlines pilot, have all declared intent to run for the District 3 council seat.

Burnett, who is also well known as a former board chair of the Sandy Springs/Perimeter Chamber of Commerce, said he is running “candidly for no other reason than I love Sandy Springs…I’m very excited about what I think the city can be.” He said he believes his financial expertise would be an asset to the council.

Burnett, who has never run for office before, lives in Rivershore Estates at Heards Ferry Road and Riverside Drive. He said that he has served on board or advisory committees for the Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School, the City Springs project, and the city’s Economic Development Advisory Council and Next Ten city planning update process.

Houseman said he is a lifelong Sandy Springs resident. “I’ve seen some really great things and really positive changes,” he said, adding that he wants to maintain a city where his children can grow up.

Joe Houseman

Houseman said he is a board member and former chair of the Delta Pilots Charitable Fund and has served on the board of the River Chase Homeowners Association. He said he has a “very flexible schedule” as a pilot that would allow him to serve on the City Council.

Brian Eufinger and his wife Silvia founded a test-taking tutoring firm called Edison Prep, according to his campaign website. Eufinger also was active in the community organizing around Ashton Woods’ controversial housing development approved last year as a companion to the Mercedes-Benz USA headquarters project, which partly involved his Facebook group. They live in Registry Glen at Glenridge Drive and Mount Vernon Highway.

“As councilman, I will continue to work for the community as I currently do and strive to keep Sandy Springs a great place to live, work and raise a family,” Eufinger says on his campaign site, which also takes a reformist stance on such issues as smart growth and improved city communications.

Brian Eufinger

One person who definitely isn’t running: Chip Collins, who held the seat before McDonald did. “I have had several other people ask me that question, and the answer is no, I have no interest in returning to public service at this time,” said Collins, a Sandy Springs attorney who remains active in many community roles, including as chair of the Sandy Springs Development Authority and president of the Sandy Springs Bar Association.

McDonald resigned from the District 3 council seat, which covers much of central Sandy Springs, earlier this month to run for the state House of Representatives. The city has yet to set a special election date, so no candidates are official yet.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.

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