ANNAPOLIS -- Ending a two-month deadlock, the Maryland Vietnam Memorial Commission has decided to drop Baltimore's Federal Hill as the proposed site for a monument to those from the state who died in the Vietnam War.

After objection from neighbors, the commission decided Monday to shift the search for a site to the Annapolis area.

Commission members said they were unwilling to redesign the memorial to eliminate objections from nearby homeowners who called it too grandiose and said it would overwhelm the historic hilltop park that overlooks Baltimore's Inner Harbor. Federal Hill residents also said the monument would contribute to erosion on the hill.

"The requirements and the demands of the community are an absurdity and an insult," said Edward T. Kreiner, a commission member and veteran of World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars. "No matter what you give them, they want more."

The design of the monument called for a low, 365-foot-wide pink granite wall across the northern face of Federal Hill, to be engraved with the names of more than 1,000 Marylanders killed or missing during the Vietnam War.

The area has a long history. In 1788, 4,000 citizens gathered on the hill to celebrate Maryland's ratification of the Constitution, and that event gave the natural dome of clay its name. During the Civil War, Union troops fortified the hill, aiming their cannons at a southern-minded Baltimore.

Commission members said they are considering four or five locations in the Annapolis area, including sites overlooking the Severn River and near the Rowe Boulevard entrance to the state capitol.

The commission's decision came during a meeting in Annapolis despite an impassioned plea from a Vietnam veteran, who asked the members not to allow local opposition in Baltimore to scuttle the Federal Hill site.

"Every Vietnam veteran I've been dealing with feels this is the place . . . but a few residents are sending us into oblivion again," said Larry Medoff, a member of the Last Patrol, a group that raised funds for the memorial.

Commission members had warned that they might select a site outside Baltimore if they could not reach an agreement with the community.

The commission had hoped to begin construction by Nov. 1 so that the monument could be completed in time for Veterans Day next year.

But hopes for a quick settlement dimmed this month as members of the Federal Hill Neighborhood Association objected and said adoption of a money-saving recommendation to place the wall of the monument back from the edge of the hill would crowd out other park activities. The group also questioned whether there was enough parking in the area and contended that the memorial commission was avoiding the issue of erosion.

"This is such a small park. The question is, if they go through with this, what is going to be left?" said Laurie Alcock, who walks her baby in the park.

Commission members had agreed to alter their original plan by moving the memorial away from the hill's edge after an engineering survey indicated that erosion could cause the wall to slide down the hill. An alternative that would have involved driving pilings into the hillside to stabilize the slope was rejected by the commission as too expensive because it would have added an additional $1 million to the $3 million earmarked for the project.

The state has contributed $2.5 million to the project, and another half million dollars was raised from donations.

The hill's commanding view of the city skyline and waterfront and its proximity to a vibrant neighborhood made it the top choice of sites.

The organizer of the national competition for the memorial design said it did not intend to "overwhelm the park or be the focus of the park. The competition was as much for the park as for the memorial."

"It is a wonderful, American neighorhood kind of park. It can be a place of great vistas and large thought or it can be a place of everyday life," said Paul Spreiregen, a Washington architect.

"The idea behind it was a kind of welcoming home of the veteran."

Alexander Wilson, who lives next to the park, and other area residents said the community has been unjustifiably portrayed as narrow-minded.

"I certainly subscribe to the general notion these men {Vietnam veterans} were not treated the way they should have been," Wilson said.

But Wilson and others think the monument is too large for a small park where a plaque and monuments to two men who played roles in Baltimore's defense during the War of 1812 now serve as the only reminders of the hill's history.