Congratulations on considering purchasing property in Irish Beach. It offers a rare opportunity to own a parcel of land and be able to build a custom fulltime or vacation home near the coast in California. The subdivision was created in the mid 1960’s as roads to the coast improved. Soon thereafter the California Coastal Commission was established, restricting any such future type subdivisions.
The fact that the subdivision map was created before the concept of Planned Unit Developments, Environmental Impact Reviews, Home Owner Association structure and a litany of other regulations and reviews, contributed much to the charm of Irish Beach, but also introduced many complications that a potential buyer today needs to consider and take into account.
- There are Codes, Covenants and Restrictions (CC&Rs) that are recorded against each parcel in the Irish Beach subdivision that affect the design, construction and use of homes. Please be sure to read these.
- This early subdivision map was made without a dedicated view consideration for each parcel. The view a lot has now may not be guaranteed in the future, just as construction of your new home and the effect it has on existing and potential home views is a negotiated aspect of the New Home Construction review and approval process.
- The original intent of the subdivision was to have a sewer system in addition to the water supply system, and individual septic systems were never factored into the creation of the original lots. It is very important to have a less than 5 year old Septic System Design from the seller as part of the escrow closing, as there are some lots that will not test to modern standards, or the only location a septic system can be installed is also the location where you had thought the house would go.
- Most of the lots are subject to Coastal Development Permit reviews by County Planning (see map), mainly along Hwy 1, along the riparian waterways and adjoining the perimeter of subdivision. There are endangered species and Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Areas (ESHAs) all throughout the subdivision, which is also part of Irish Beach’s appeal. This may result in additional no-build setbacks and other restrictions and is why the committee recommends a consultation with County Planning in Fort Bragg before doing any aspect of design planning.
- Irish Beach falls within the California Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) boundaries, and as such building codes now require special fire-resistant materials and construction, such as fiber-cement siding and trim, dual tempered pane windows, composite decks, special eave construction and more. This has added greatly to the cost of construction. Indoor Fire Sprinklers have also been mandated in new residential construction since 2010.
- It is costly to build on the coast owing to the additional delivery cost of materials and the relative short supply of contractors, tradespersons and workers. Before designing a home it is a good idea to have an area Architect or Designer provide a cost estimate, or if you have a contractor in mind, obtain one from them. Current (2022) estimates are from $350/sqft for a simple code-compliant home 2BR to over $550/sqft for a design with custom features or finishes.
- One of the most remarkable features of Irish Beach is its water supply through the Irish Beach Water District. Available fresh water is one of the most limiting aspects of building on the coast, but Irish Beach is currently blessed with a good water system for the foreseeable future and functioned well during each of the prior droughts. Its current production capacity is projected to be able to address the needs of the built and projected community through at least 2060. That said, there are always threats to the water supply, and it is a good idea to remain informed on the current status via the IBWD website.
- Many of the recent home builds have been enabled through the merger of two or more parcels into one buildable lot. One lot may not have enough room for both a septic system and a house after factoring in setbacks, and merging 2 or more lots will allow a home to built. This action will also alleviate many view corridor issues. The county and the ADC encourages this approach as a way to address many of the above mentioned issues and restrictions.