Thought he was referring to my ex....

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Thought he was referring to my ex....

Postby ScottLevison » Sun Jan 07, 2018 7:47 am

http://www.lowellsun.com/local/ci_31571 ... za-project

In Billerica, a war of words over Sal's Pizza project

By Rick Sobey, rsobey@lowellsun.com
UPDATED: 01/05/2018 07:24:34 AM EST


BILLERICA -- Customers pulling into the parking lot at Sal's Pizza quickly go from hungry to puzzled.

Some do a double-take.

A large, provocative word greets them in the property next door: "Douchebag" -- written in black paint on a white barn next to the pizza chain on Boston Road.

An abutter writing that in public view has also raised First Amendment questions. For instance, where does government draw the line when it comes to speech that may offend people?

The owner of the barn, Arthur Lynch, wrote this term because he has been upset with the rebuild project at Sal's Pizza, despite the business following every condition of the permit that was approved by Billerica boards.

"They made my whole yard into a fishbowl," Lynch, 66, who lives at 324 Boston Road, said on Tuesday. "The fence used to be higher, so you couldn't see. Now, the new fence is lower, so you can sit there in the car and watch my whole house.

"If they raise the fence, I'll take douchebag off the house, but otherwise, I'm probably gonna add more," he added.

Lynch also said that douchebag is not an obscene word.

However, seeing this term along the main drag of Billerica has been frustrating for parents, officials and Sal's Pizza -- which reopened on Dec. 18 at 328 Boston Road.

"We are disappointed with what's facing our business," said Eric Kuhnen, director of operations for Sal's Pizza. "We feel bad for the town of Billerica.

The company, however, is excited to reopen, he emphasized.

"We've had a fantastic turnout so far," Kuhnen said.

The tear down and rebuild of Sal's Pizza happened after the company received approval from the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals. It's a more modern space with an updated menu. There's also room for two other retail tenants.

As part of the rebuild, Sal's Pizza constructed a six-foot fence -- a height within the conditions of the permit.

"We've done everything by the book, and as respectfully as possible," said Caitlin Landry, who does marketing for Sal's Pizza.

"We're excited to be back open," she added.

Mark LaLumiere, Billerica's building commissioner, has followed the construction at Sal's Pizza, along with the abutter's concerns.

LaLumiere talked to Lynch about the permit, including the six-foot fence. Lynch wanted a higher fence, so Sal's Pizza agreed to an eight-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 LaLumiere.

"Sal's was trying to work with him and be a good neighbor," the building commissioner said. "They were out there ready to do it, but he has the right to change his mind."

As a result, Sal's Pizza proceeded with the six-foot fence.

The town asked Lynch to paint over the word on his barn, but he responded, "Absolutely not," according to LaLumiere.

"It's on a main drag, and people shouldn't have to explain to their kids what the word is and why it's there," LaLumiere said.

Billerica Deputy Police Chief Roy Frost said officials tried to convince Lynch that the word was unnecessary. However, the resident felt it was the right approach.

"It's too bad, it's provocative, but it's not in our control," Frost said. "It's within his right."

The First Amendment protects offensive speech, according to Justin Silverman, executive director of the New England First Amendment Coalition.

Even if a word offends some people, an individual is allowed to write it on his/her property.

The person crosses the line when the language incites violence, Silverman said.

"But if it's merely offensive, the First Amendment protects that type of speech," he said. "We want to be able to speak our minds without the government telling us we can't.

"It may be hard to tolerate and we may not all agree with it, but it's all protected by the First Amendment," Silverman added.

When a Sun reporter approached Lynch on Tuesday and asked him why he wrote "that word," Lynch responded: "Douchebag. You can say it. They say it on TV. It's perfectly legal, and there's nothing they can do about it."

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"Douchebag. You can say it. They say it on TV. It's perfectly legal, and there's nothing they can do about it."

https://youtu.be/LW6Ljep0AC0
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Re: Thought he was referring to my ex....

Postby ctredbird » Sun Jan 07, 2018 7:27 pm

Hmmm, the homeowner sounds more like a Masshole than a douchebag to me.
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Re: Thought he was referring to my ex....

Postby Cartman » Sun Jan 07, 2018 7:33 pm

I wonder what Lord and Lady Du Chebag would say.
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