Bob Woodward, the investigative reporter known for grilling government officials, may soon have to field some questions of his own from top Maryland officials about a project on his riverfront property near Annapolis.
The stage was set for such an encounter yesterday when a state wetlands official said that his agency erred in approving a $10,000 shoreline erosion project at Woodward's South River estate.
The permitting mistake -- made public at an Anne Arundel County Board of Appeals hearing yesterday -- means that the Washington Post editor and reporter's project may have to be reviewed by the state Board of Public Works, which includes Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and State Comptroller William Donald Schaefer.
The revelation was the latest twist in a decadelong homeowners dispute between Woodward and his neighbor, Dr. Marion Jordan, a prominent Washington burn surgeon.
The two have been feuding over Woodward's efforts to shore up his eroding beach as well as Jordan's 150-foot pier extension, which juts into the river in front of Woodward's house. Both have appealed to the county, and Jordan's challenge was first to come up for a hearing.
But in a letter to Woodward yesterday, Gary T. Setzer, a program administrator with the Maryland Department of the Environment, said that Woodward's erosion project "falls outside the scope" of MDE jurisdiction and requires a license from the Board of Public Works.
Given that Woodward's state and county permits were null and void, Jordan's attorney told county Board of Appeals members last night that his client wished to withdraw his challenge. Woodward did not attend the hearing and could not be reached for comment last night.