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ATLANTA -- Druid Hills is a large, historic, turn of the century neighborhood that mostly sits just outside Atlanta's eastern city limits. Its residents have been largely content to remain under the governance of DeKalb County. But then cityhood initiatives began to take shape at its doorstep.

"As soon as we heard Lakeside was looking to form, we realized this is an issue we're going to have to confront," said Jason Critz, president of the Druid Hills Civic Association.

Apart from Lakeside, the Briarcliff city initiative actually included Druid Hills as part of a map it expects to take to the legislature this winter.

The intrigue deepened for Druid Hills when a representative of Mayor Kasim Reed's office put out the welcome mat from the city of Atlanta. Critz says an annexation with Atlanta would require the approval of property owners in Druid Hills.

"It's the perception of some people I've talked to that Atlanta's fortunes are really on the rise right now," said Critz, citing a strengthening of the Atlanta Public Schools and a budgetary surplus in city government. Critz says the Civic Association isn't taking an official position on Atlanta or Briarcliff's inroads.

Mayor Reed's communications office didn't immediately respond to a Christmas Eve request for comment.

Druid Hills would be a property-rich prize for Atlanta or Briarcliff. Many of its 4400 homes are on the pricey side. The property includes Emory University and the Centers for Disease Control.

But in some parts of Druid Hills, the attention from Atlanta and Briarcliff has triggered a backlash: Yard signs signalling a desire to say no to any city.

"These incorporation issues are going to change the face of the county," said Critz.

And the question for Druid Hills will be: How to adapt.

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