JERSEY CITY, NJ - In a move that could greatly help local restaurants hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic; the city council is expected to introduce an ordinance Thursday that would expand the area where restaurants are exempt from a state statute that prohibits the granting of liquor licenses to establishments within 750 feet of an existing one to Mallory Avenue.

While the law is meant to protect an area from becoming overrun with bars, and reduce competition for those already open, the proposal to create an overlay zone is intended to spur new business by creating a restaurant row such as that which originally came to Jersey City in 2011 and has since expanded beyond downtown. 

In 2016 the council approved a similar proposal that created a restaurant overlay zone in Bergen-Lafayette, then expanded this to include a 14-block stretch between Montgomery and Claremont streets.

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For Bergen-Lafayette, this meant opening a huge stretch of Grand Street to establishments that serve alcohol rather than relying on customers bringing their own as was the case in the past. This change was seen as key to increasing development at Communipaw Junction where the city hoped to encourage people to open up restaurants. 

By allowing for the rezoning of residential and/or industrial properties so that they can become commercial, this latest proposed expansion is intended to encourage similar development and encourage investors to consider opening food businesses along Mallory Avenue.

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