PATERSON - Paterson city council held a town hall meeting tonight to hear from all sides involved in a controversial plan to close businesses early on the weekends.

The measure is intended to help thwart an uptick in violent crime.

The draft plan would force restaurants and convenience stores to close at 11 p.m. during the week, and midnight on weekends.

Supporters of the plan say it could help curb the late night violence that plagues the city.

Opponents of the move say it will hurt small businesses. Several business owners say there are other ways to curb the violence that wouldn't force them to close shop early.

Some have suggested hiring private security or setting up neighborhood watches.

Several incidents including the shooting of a mother and her son during a bodega robbery prompted the new plan.

Council hopes to have a final draft by the end of the year, and see it implemented by early 2013.

A second town hall meeting is planned for Oct. 22.