An inside look at the current issues facing Paterson, N.J. Michael V. Pettigano

Torres says plan to move closing time up by five hours is about public health and quality of life.

PATERSON – Liquor stores throughout Paterson would have to stop selling package goods at 10 p.m., or five hours earlier than dictated by the current law, under a plan being pushed by Mayor Joey Torres.

For many years, Paterson has allowed liquor stores to stay open well after midnight, in contrast to other large cities in the state, like Newark and Jersey City, which require them to shut down by 10 p.m. Community leaders and law enforcement officials have criticized the city’s late liquor store hours, saying they cause quality-of-life problems and attract troublemakers from other towns.

At present, the city allows liquor stores to stay open from 7 a.m. until 3 a.m., the mayor said. “That seems excessive to me,” Torres said.

The mayor said he decided to propose the new hours of 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. after conferring with the Paterson Coalition Against Substance Abuse. Two months ago, the coalition presented the City Council with a report that said Paterson had almost three times more alcohol licenses – a total of…