The Laurel City Council has put off discussion of a controversial bill that would require landowners to pay 75 percent of the cost of fixing sidewalks adjacent to their homes.

Significant public opposition to the bill was raised at two public hearings, with residents generally arguing that sidewalks are communal property, city spokeswoman Kay Sandul said.

Speakers at the hearings said it would be unfair to charge only some residents for the sidewalk work. Either everyone should pay or the city should assume the total cost of repair, they contended.

Others said that even if the arrangement was equitable, the residents' 75 percent share compared with the city's 25 percent was not, Sandul said.

In other business, the council prohibited most car repair work on city streets, roads, avenues and alleys. Do-it-yourself mechanics will be able to give their cars only minor service, such as changing the spark plugs, Sandul said.

The council also voiced opposition to the sale of certain land parcels at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center because it fears a loss of open green space in an area congested with industry, Sandul said. Council members also believe the open properties are needed for research, she said.

The federal government wants to sell the properties because it considers them surplus.

In other business, the City Council approved traffic stop signs at the southwest corner of Fairlawn Avenue, at Thomas Drive, and on three unnamed service and access roads that intersect Dorset Road between Brooklyn Bridge Road and the city-owned right-of-way at the Millbrook Apartment complex.