Water, water everywhere at Browns Point

There doesn't seem to be a bad view from Browns Point.

From Browns Point Lighthouse Park, you can see water in front of you, to your right and to your left. Many homeowners have a similar view of the Sound.

Browns Point, next to Dash Point, is home to about 1,200 residents, according to an April 2005 report about potential annexations for Tacoma.

"What we really prize is the view," resident Mary Tudor said while she walked her dog, Buddha, in the park as waves lapped against the rocky beach. "No one wants to see that change."

But other changes are possible for Browns Point, which is between Tacoma and Federal Way and has more-affluent residents than either city, according to the 2000 census. The median household income for the census area that includes Browns Point was $67,500. Tacoma's was $37,879, and Federal Way's was $49,278.

Both cities have expressed interest in Browns Point as well as Dash Point. Federal Way proposed adding the two communities to its urban growth area.

Pierce County rejected the proposal, said Isaac Conlen, associate planner for Federal Way's Department of Community Development Services.

Browns Point Improvement Club President Jason Walters has lived in the area for about 10 years, and he said the good part about Federal Way's proposal is that it has started the discussion about Browns Point's future.

Pierce County also has begun to put together a community board to develop a plan for Browns Point and Dash Point, said Mike Erkkinen, a senior planner for Pierce County's Planning and Land Services Department. The planning for unincorporated parts of the county usually considers what the area's future would hold as part of unincorporated Pierce County, not whether the area would be annexed.

Everything except the view of the water has changed significantly since 1792, when Capt. George Vancouver, his crew and a group of American Indians ate lunch at Browns Point. Later, the area was a vacation spot for Tacoma residents. It had no road access for many years, Walters said.

"Because of that history, there's a fairly strong feeling of community and independence," Walters said.

The area tends to keep generations of families, but rising property values make buying a home more difficult for the younger generation, Walters said.

Others, including Walters, have moved into the area in the past 10 to 15 years, he said.

A more recent newcomer, Charles Dunford, bought a house and the Browns Point Pizzeria in June, and said he and his wife intend to stay and raise their 7-year-old and 10-month-old daughters in Browns Point.

Dunford described Browns Point as "affluent, family-oriented and friendly ... and it is absolutely gorgeous."

Browns Point Lighthouse Park is at the entrance to Commencement Bay. (METRO PARKS TACOMA)

Browns Point neighborhood

Population: 1,226

Schools: Browns Point is served by the Tacoma public school district.

Housing: Of 580 total housing units, 350, or 60.3 percent, are owner-occupied; 185, or 31.9 percent, are renter-occupied; and 45, or 7.8 percent, are vacant.

Nearby medical facilities: St. Francis Hospital, 34515 Ninth Ave. S., Federal Way;

Mary Bridge Children's Hospital , 317 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Tacoma;

St. Joseph Medical Center 1717 S. J St., Tacoma;

Tacoma General Hospital, 315 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Tacoma

Shopping: The Commons at Federal Way (formerly the SeaTac Mall), 1928 S. Commons, Federal Way

Public facilities: Browns Point Lighthouse Park, 201 Tulalip St. N.E., Tacoma