Through the City’s Comprehensive Plan, Rainier Beach was designated an urban village – envisioned to have concentrations of low to moderate densities of predominantly residential development with a compatible mix of support services and employment. The Rainier Beach 2014 Neighborhood Plan has provided the community and the City with a blueprint for setting priorities and implementing specific actions to improve the community.
Typical of many neighborhoods in Seattle, Rainier Beach has a distinct residential area, a retail/commercial core and civic and public facilities that create a unique identity. One of Rainier Beach’s most significant assets is its physical setting along Lake Washington and views of Mt. Rainier.
While single-family homes appear to dominate Rainier Beach’s residential character in fact only a third of housing units are single-family homes and only 26% of housing units are owner occupied. Multi-family structures are concentrated around major arterials and in the valley. Rainier Beach has seen development occur at much slower pace than other areas of the city, most of it concentrated on multi-family structures.
One of the Rainier Beach neighborhood’s key assets lies in the clustering of public facilities adjacent to the core commercial/retail area. These facilities serve both the neighborhood and the surrounding area and include a recreation center and pool, a library, a regular high school and performing arts center, an alternative high school, and an elementary school.