The Laurel City Council voted this week to restrict parking at all hours along the west side of Fourth Street south of Gorman Avenue.

The council's ban, effective immediately, does not take in a 45-foot stretch of Fourth Street mentioned in the original proposal. Instead of banning parking along a 136-foot sector of the street, the zone includes only 91 feet of Fourth Street south of Gorman.

According to city officials, Fourth Street was too narrow for safe use by traffic and pedestrains.

"There was a fear that people would be struck by oncoming cars as they got out of their own cars," said Bruce Dodgson, director of the city's department of public works.

In order to widen the street, the city would have had to eliminate several parking spaces. The net impact of the council's ban is the loss of only one space.

Dogson says the street is now safer and will be able to handle more traffic.

The turning radius from Gorman onto Fourth has also been greatly improved, he added.

In other action, the council voted to support a measure now in the state legislature that would ban Sunday horseracing in the Washington-Baltimore area. Council member Hal Ammann pressed for the vote, suspending normal council operating rules, so that Laurel would be on record as opposing Sunday racing when the state legislature holds hearings on the bill.

Several weeks ago, Ammann said the state racing commission decided to experiment with the six-day racing week by by switching Tuesday races to Sundays, beginning in January. Racing is currently scheduled from Monday through Saturday.

If the bill now before the state legislature is padded, the racing commission will be forced to reinstitute Tuesday racing.

The council is also considering an ordinance that would allow tax credit of up to 100 percent for renovations or rehabilitation projects in the city's historic district. The rebate would be applicable only to the increase in the property's reassessed value.

According to Richard Gonzales, director of finance, the tax credits would be available to both businesses and residents of the historic district. The council will decide on the rebates next year.