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Sal’s Pizza Owner Apparently Has Billerica Compromise in the Bag; Abutter Covers D-word

January 19, 2018

BILLERICA -- The “Douchebag Saga of 2018” is over, for now.

The provocative word painted in black on the white barn next to Sal’s Pizza -- greeting customers for the last few weeks when they park at the pizza chain on Boston Road -- has been covered up from public view.

Sal Lupoli, owner of Sal’s Pizza and Lupoli Companies, knocked on the door of Arthur Lynch, the disgruntled abutter, two days ago, and talked for 30 minutes about his fence-height concerns.

“I gave him my word that we would revisit the situation in the spring when the ground isn’t frozen, and together we’ll remedy the situation,” Lupoli said Thursday morning.

Lupoli never asked Lynch to cover up “Douchebag,” he stressed.

″‘I’m here because you’re upset, and your property touches my property,’” Lupoli recalled telling Lynch.

Lynch wrote the term on his barn because he was upset with the rebuild project at Sal’s Pizza, despite the business following every condition of the permit that was approved by Billerica town boards.

Lynch had complained that the fence used to be higher. Today, customers can look into his yard when they park at Sal’s Pizza.

However, after Lupoli visited Tuesday, the word “douchebag” disappeared from public view. It appears Lynch used chicken-pellet wrappers to cover it up.

Lynch did not answer his door or phone Thursday morning.

As part of the rebuild, Sal’s Pizza constructed a six-foot fence -- a height within the conditions of the permit approved by the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals. Lynch wanted a higher fence, so Sal’s Pizza agreed to an 8-foot fence of his choice.

A week later, workers were installing the eight-foot fence, but Lynch “had a fit, throwing them off his property,” according to Mark LaLumiere, Billerica’s building commissioner. As a result, Sal’s Pizza proceeded with the 6-foot fence.

Lupoli said he was out of the country when this dispute came up. He visited Lynch two days ago, as he promised he would in a conversation with a Sun editor, introduced himself and said, “I’m here to understand your concerns.”

“He asked me why I was there and not my contractors,” Lupoli recalled.

Lupoli said he responded, “Because I own the real estate, and owners should talk to each other.”

Lynch agreed, and they walked the site together.

A possible solution is building a wall, and then erecting a fence on top of that, Lupoli said.

“When the thaw comes, we’ll invite out the local building official and we’ll be able to figure this out together,” he said.

The pizza shop reopened on Boston Road on Dec. 18, following the renovations.

Many customers, especially parents, have been disappointed with the word “Douchebag” next door, according to Lupoli. It’s a challenge for parents to explain this situation to their children, he added.

“Billerica has a lot of pride, and residents don’t want to be known for this,” he said. “They don’t want this to be on the news. They understood our position but were upset something like that was in their town.”

Follow Rick Sobey on Twitter @rsobeyLSun.