Sarah Bunch to run for Fayetteville City Council in Ward 3

Sarah Bunch / Courtesy photo

Local real estate agent Sarah Bunch will run for City Council in Fayetteville’s Ward 3.

Bunch, 53, said her background in banking, combined with her six years as Fayetteville Planning Commission member, 20 years as a landlord, and almost 15 years experience as a Realtor, gives her a deep understanding of the growing pains Fayetteville faces.

“Years of assisting the public have made me a good listener and helped me develop the ability to work through issues and resolve problems,” Bunch said in a statement. “As your alderman, I will be a tireless advocate for the citizens of Ward 3 and for Fayetteville.”

Ward 3 includes several neighborhoods in northeast Fayetteville, including the Huntingdon and Candlewood subdivisions. Gulley Park, Fiesta Square, Lake Fayetteville, and the Northwest Arkansas Mall are also in Ward 3.

In her campaign announcement, Bunch said it’s easy to see why Fayetteville is consistently rated as one of the best places to live in the country, but added that the city “isn’t frozen in time.” She said it’s no surprise that Fayetteville is the fastest growing city in the state, but cautioned that growth can present challenges.

“It is essential we maintain the unique character of the city we all know and love, while continuing to plan for a future that will benefit all our citizens,” she said.

The Position 2 seat is currently held by Martin Schoppmeyer, who recently told us he does not plan to run for re-election.

Two other residents have told us they plan to run for the position – Ben Harrison and Tracy Hoskins. We’ve reached out to both individuals and will post their responses in the order they’re received.

There are three other Position 2 seats up for grabs on Nov. 8, including those held by Sarah Marsh (Ward 1), Matthew Petty (Ward 2) and Alan Long (Ward 4) – each who have said they will seek another term. The City Clerk position, held by Sondra Smith, is also up for election.

The filing period for all municipal offices in the Nov. 8 election runs through Aug. 19.

Profile: Sarah Bunch

Position sought: Ward 3, Position 2
Age: 53
Residency: Born and raised in NWA, lived in Fayetteville for over 30 years
Employment: Realtor with Keller Williams Market Pro Realty in Fayetteville.
Education: B.A. English, University of Arkansas; Graduate, Mid-South School of Banking
Political Experience: Served six years on the Fayetteville Planning Commission

Questions

What made you decide to seek election to the council? Is it something you’ve been considering for a while?
I have thought of running for City Council for a few years, but didn’t consider it seriously until my last term on the Planning Commission was about to be up. At that time several people approached me about running, and I guess those people motivated me to take the prospect seriously. I think I am well qualified to serve the citizens of Ward 3 and Fayetteville. I had a long career in banking before starting a 14-year career in the real estate profession, and I spent my last year on planning serving as chair. Additionally, I enjoy working with people and have a strong desire to give back to the community I love so much.

Is there anything in particular that drove you to reside in Ward 3? How would you describe that part of town?
At the time I moved into Ward 3, almost 15 years ago, I was drawn to my North Sequoyah neighborhood because it was well established, had lots of trees, and was centrally located. I love that my neighborhood is a friendly place where people watch out for one another, and I’ve always felt safe here. Ward 3 has four public schools as well as several private schools, so as a whole, it’s a very family oriented ward. It is a mix of older and newer subdivisions sprinkled with hills and greenspace. In the older neighborhoods, it isn’t uncommon to see young homeowners living next to people who’ve owned their home for 30+ years. Our ward has several parks including the widely used Lake Fayetteville Park and Gulley Park. People in Ward 3 tend to use the parks and trails of Fayetteville a lot for general recreation as well as youth sports teams. However, as the trail system has expanded a growing number of residents use the trails to commute to work and shopping. This part of town contains a lot of businesses and commercial areas including the mall, Joyce Boulevard, and parts of College Avenue. Butterfield Trail Village is located in Ward 3, so we have a large population of seniors as well. Ward 3 has a lot to offer. I love my ward, and think most of other residents feel the same way.

Are there any recent council decisions you agree or disagree with?
Last fall the council voted to remove the minimum number of parking spaces required for businesses. Before their vote, businesses such as restaurants had to have one parking space for every 100 square feet and retail required one space for every 250 square feet. Removing this minimum allows new businesses to determine how many spaces they need in order to be successful. The old guidelines were based on what a business might require at its peak time, and led to buildings with excessively large parking lots that are never full. All that pavement is wasted space, doesn’t produce revenue for the city, and is bad for the environment. The old requirement placed an undue burden on businesses and could have prevented a new business from opening because they were short on parking spaces. I think the decision to remove the minimum parking requirements was very forward thinking on the part of the council.

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