By Laurelle Walsh

East 20 Pizza is now in compliance with Winthrop’s Westernization code, according to Westernization Architectural Committee (WAC) administrator Cindy Hicks.

The popular pizza restaurant, located on Highway 20 along the south end of Winthrop’s business district, was fined $150 in March, after the town said the restaurant failed to meet the Westernization code’s requirements in a timely manner.

Proprietor Ryan Clement paid the fine, but said he “would like to set the record straight after Westernization prematurely cited us. We are now within compliance as our new deck hides the metal wainscot Westernization had a problem with,” he told the News.

“Everything looks great now,” said Hicks. “I haven’t done a final [inspection] yet, and he’s not done yet, but it looks like he applied for everything that has been done.”

Clement says he was “shocked” that the WAC used his business “as an example.”

Two features of East 20 Pizza’s remodel were found to be in violation of the Westernization code: the height of the exterior metal wainscot and the new, white vinyl windows, according to Clement. “The wainscot is now hidden from view by the deck fence, and they are happy with the outcome. The window frames are getting   painted this week.”

“The project wasn’t complete, and I felt that they acted prematurely,” Clement said. “Had they waited, the fence would have been built and all would be groovy.”

From the WAC’s point of view, the main issue was that Clement and his contractor, Ekblad Construction, “were doing projects they hadn’t been approved for,” Hicks said.

“He came in after the fact and updated his application,” said Hicks. “You can’t apply for things after you do them. You need to ask for permission, not forgiveness.”

For its part, last week the WAC finalized an updated application form, “so hopefully it will be easier for people to work with,” Hicks said. She said the committee had been holding special meetings for several months in order to update the application process and make it “more user-friendly.”

In addition, a tri-fold reference guide has recently been sent out to all Winthrop businesses that “spells out” the Westernization code’s position on exterior details, signage, holiday lights, etcetera, Hicks said.

Clement says in terms of working with the town, he would not do anything different in the future. “A remodel of this scale evolves and changes as floor plans, availability of materials, usage of space, and funding all come into play. It is unrealistic to require a business to predict the future and know exactly the outcome of a huge remodel,” he said.

East 20 Pizza’s most recent expansion — launched last fall and recently completed — includes a new outside deck, new bathrooms accessible from indoor and outdoor dining areas, and enlarged indoor dining room and kitchen.

“[Clement] is a great businessperson for the valley,” administrator Hicks said. “He’s a real go-getter. He just needs to make sure he goes through the process before making changes.”