But what riled the anti-deck crowd more than the final vote was that the chairwoman of the task force, Sharon Gay, wrote the final recommendations in favor of the deck before members even voted.
A draft of the task force report, which states, "The task force recommends that the City of Atlanta endorse and adopt the North Woods Expansion Master Plan [including the parking deck]," was leaked to Creative Loafing the day before the vote.
"I took a stab at doing a very rough outline of what could be a final report, based on my conversations with most of the members," says Gay, who oversaw four task force meetings. "I was very worried in the beginning about doing this in four meetings, but by the time we got to the third one, the path was pretty clear to me and seemed to be for the others as well."
It's no wonder that the task force, which is comprised of appointees from the city, the Piedmont Park Conservancy and the Atlanta Botanical Garden, took a pro-deck stance. With the exception of a six-minute presentation by Friends of Piedmont Park, an anti-deck citizens' group, the task force heard almost entirely from pro-deck presenters, such as the Atlanta Botanical Garden, which wants the deck so badly it's willing to foot the entire $15 million bill.
"It is hard to see that the task force has done anything to bring the community together," says Amy Triandiflou, a member of Friends of Piedmont Park. "Obviously, a large segment of the community does not agree with the conclusions of the task force at all."
Case in point: Sixteen of the 17 Neighborhood Planning Units that took up the issue voted against the deck (the votes, however, are nonbinding recommendations).
Next, the Piedmont Park parking deck plan will go before the Urban Design Commission for modifications and a vote. If it passes, it will go to City Council, then the mayor.