This is a classic case of development at what cost? It stinks to the high heaven!

County Chairman and Investor. Img: AI Midjourney + PSD

This whole scenario feels like a game of bureaucratic Monopoly, where certain moves are made for show, but the real issues like ensuring the air is safe to breathe, aren’t even on the board.

Air quality and noise pollution, you’d think these would be top priorities in a major urban transformation, right? However, the absence of air quality monitors near construction sites leaves the true extent of pollution levels unknown. It’s clear the rules are skewed, designed to hide the truths about the environmental impact caused by construction activities. As a result, residents living near these construction sites are left uninformed and exposed to harmful substances without any warning.

Arlington, VA. The county and developers spent a 30 years meticulously planning this major urban transformation, adapting policies along the way. Did they overlook basic human necessities? The air we breathe. The risks that construction activities cause to the environment and health are widely recognized by major public agencies such as the EPA, WHO, CDC, and the Lung Cancer Association, but no one is monitoring or disclosing the dangers and silence. It’s murky, hidden, and grim. Behind the shiny advertised facade, the outlook is dim.

…If the health implications and environmental concerns were sidelined footnotes in the blueprint of city plans, that’s not just an oversight, that’s a willful blind spot.

Acknowledging and disclosing the health risks caused by construction activities is bad for business. It is a dirty little secret that could derail the money train for investors and the city.

Construction Activities across Washington DC

Resident protection takes a back seat, risks are not disclosed, and the questions are not answered.

These risks are real and deadly, proven, and not picky about who they strike.

Who made the call to sacrifice a few of us for the greater good? If the risks were minimal, there would be transparency. The absence of information implies there’s something to hide. “Was the oversight a topic of discussion or merely brushed aside? It’s implausible that over three decades, no one else spotted these concerns. So, what happened to those voices? Were they sidelined? “

If someone intentionally puts poison into your water bottle, it’s not just bad, it’s a deliberate act of harm. In the same vein, if officials or developers are aware of serious harmful substances to be present in the environment, like construction dust that can cause serious health issues to an entire community, and fails to warn the public, could this be seen as a form of negligence or even willful endangerment?

Is there’s an ethical and legal obligation to prevent harm and protect others from known dangers?

The question here isn’t “Is this bad?”

Every question I throw out bounces back unanswered. As I dig for clarity it’s clear the rules are skewed, designed to hide the truths about the health risks of construction pollution.

My inbox is a dossier of dismissals and non-answers, that’s the smoking gun of the silent strategy I am talking about. In my conversations with the Arlington County Chairman, County Environmental Services, Urban Planning, the County Department of Environmental Quality, Department of Labor and Industry EPA, DEQ and managers of JBG Smith/Clark Construction (mega investors) what have I got? A deflection, silence, and a dance around the maypole without ever touching it. It’s a choreography of avoidance, and I’m not buying tickets to that show!

It’s one thing to suspect, another to have the paperwork that shows the decision-makers’ doorstep. It’s evidence of a dialogue that’s more monologue, where my concerns echo back with a pat on the back and a “we’ll look into it” that never sees daylight.

It’s not just about reading between the lines, it’s about reading the lines that aren’t there.

That’s the real conversation, and it’s louder than any construction noise. It’s not just a question of whether it’s awful and also unawful, it’s a question of no one doing anything about it.

You won’t find much online about the danger of living near these construction sites. Why?

Because the truth is inconvenient. The developers and the County are betting on one thing, that if you don’t see it online, you’ll believe there’s nothing to worry about. Instead of facts, we’re sold picturesque renderings, distractions from the gritty reality. It’s a strategic silence. They’re banking on the fact that the dazzle of development will blind folks to the smog of its wake. It’s a risky bet. And in the end, it’s the people, not the buildings, that make the place. If the foundation is shaky, no amount of architectural splendor will keep the walls from cracking. It’s not just awful, it’s a tragedy in slow motion, unless someone hits pause and rewinds back to the part where community health was in the script.

They won’t tell you, but I will!

By the time we see the side effects of this major redevelopment, the race will be over. But let's hope the finish line isn't a courtroom! 

Is it safe to live in Arlington VA? They won’t tell you but I will. No!