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Village officials have decided that four tall spruce trees in Franklinville's Park Square will be cut down and replaced with another type of tree.

The Village Board made the decision Monday at the close of a special public meeting called after complaints that bottles, cigarettes and drug paraphernalia have been found hidden in gaps hollowed out within the lower boughs of two of the trees.

Though some discussion centered on possibilities of trimming off the lower branches, board members rejected that idea. The time of removal was left for a later decision, to be governed by seasonal conditions, as well as the timing of other work in the park and the downtown area. Four large maple trees also growing in the park will be left standing.

A small group of residents attended the session, along with members of the Village Tree Commission and the Historic Preservation Commission. Resident Dick Pierce stated his concerns that removal of the trees may eliminate the seasonal holiday lighting that has traditionally been hung on the boughs of the spruce trees.

The members of the two Commissions did not object to removing the spruce trees.

Tree Commission Chairman Richard Swift said the mature trees have outgrown the small park and suggested other varieties to be planted in their places.

Members of the Historic Preservation Committee told the board they are working on an overall plan for the park, based on historic lighting that is to be installed following the completion of the Route 16 repaving project and burial of utility lines in the downtown area.

They asked that landscaping be coordinated with the preservation plan after it is finalized.

In other action, a moratorium on sexually-oriented businesses was extended to March 1, 2000 after a brief public hearing.

David Swartz, chairman of the village's Zoning Board of Appeals, told the board he has not yet completed research for a proposed law to restrict permits for those kinds of businesses. Once the law is ready it will be brought before the board for a public hearing to be scheduled.

The board's next regular meeting will take place Sept. 13.

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