‘Painting Elf’ donation of Carmel Valley wall upgrade a community ‘gift’

By Karen Billing

The walls on Carmel Creek Road have been painted a fresh, new white thanks to the generous donation of one neighbor who wishes to remain anonymous.

In June, resident Donna Vehar came before the Carmel Valley Community Planning Board to ask if something could be done about the deteriorated state of the walls on Carmel Creek Road, from Carmel Country Road to Mykonos Lane.

She became a little disheartened and believed that nothing would ever be done due to the cost and legal issues. Then stepped in the “Painting Elf.”

“It was an amazing experience for me that a member of the community took it upon himself to make that happen and paid for the highest quality procedure to have it happen,” said Vehar. “I hope the community recognizes this didn’t just happen under general maintenance…We all appreciate it.”

The Elf privately hired a team of four from the city’s landscaping company to come and work on their off-hours. He paid for their services and purchased the paint from the local Frazee Paint store in Carmel Country Plaza, spending an estimated $20,000 of his own money. He even chipped in for Starbucks coffee and muffins for the crew.

The Elf is a local resident who has lived in this area his entire life — first attending R. Roger Rowe School in Rancho Santa Fe, then graduating from Torrey Pines High and Mira Costa College in Encinitas. He started his career on High Bluff Drive and later built a business in Sorrento Valley that he sold in 2007.

“I am a local guy who is now aging a bit and I feel a sense of responsibility to better the community we live in,” said the Elf in an e-mail to Vehar.

The Elf said he knows he might not be able to stay anonymous for long but stated he does not need the recognition for the project.

“This is simply a gift for the people that make up our community, a sort of silent ‘thank you,’ a way to show that even though we all don’t know each other I respect and am grateful to be part of this group.”

At the Sept. 27 Carmel Valley planning board meeting, board member Christian Clews said he hoped the board could recognize the Elf in some way, perhaps with a plaque on the wall.

“This is just a heartwarming thing, this was just amazing,” Clews said. “This is just stuff they make movies about and it makes me feel that there’s hope for the human race.”