The effort to repeal a controversial City Council-approved residential zoning overhaul is generating controversy itself.

Postcards warning about the possible impact of the changes to the ordinance were mailed to many homes in Rockland Friday, Feb. 8. A group calling itself Saving Rockland sent out the mailer, which includes a photo of a tiny house and an aerial photograph of a residential Rockland neighborhood.

"Tiny houses are coming to your neighborhood!," states the headline over the photo of the tiny house, and "Rockland's green spaces will disappear" over the aerial photo.

The mailer also maintains that the ordinance approved by the Rockland City CouncilĀ  Jan. 14 will double the density of residential neighborhoods, harm the character of neighborhoods and decrease property values.

A group of 19 residents are collecting signatures to force a referendum to repeal the ordinance. The organizers said last week they were near their goal of enough signatures to require the referendum. The number needed to force a vote by the public is 523. If reached, the referendum would likely be held June 11.

Councilor Amelia Magjik, who was a strong supporter of the ordinance change, posted Saturday afternoon on Facebook that she was "accosted by a very rude member of the privileged posse who are causing a ruckus over ordinance amendment #48" while she was at the transfer station.

She said the ordinance allows people greater freedom to use their own property for living space and brings a relatively large percentage of existing properties into code compliance with setbacks and lot coverage regulations.

"I go to the transfer station to sort my recyclables and drop my trash, just like everyone else. I do not go there to be HARASSED. Manners are still free, I suggest everyone pick some up today," Magjik said in her post.

She said the person, whom she did not identify, was a fanatic who was telling people that the ordinance would allow the city to cut down trees on people's properties. She then posted laughing emojis.

"Please help stop the spread of hysteria. No one is coming to hand you a tiny house and/or cut down the trees in your yard," she concluded in her post.

A message was sent to Magjik Sunday asking for additional information on the incident, but she has not responded.

The new law will allow detached accessory apartments to a main house. The ordinance does not include a minimum size for residences.

Minimum lot sizes will decrease from 20,000 square feet to 7,500 square feet in residential AA zones such as Pen Bay Acres and Samoset Road; from 10,000 square feet to 5,000 square feet in residential A; and from 6,400 square feet to 4,000 square feet in residential B. Residential B is the most widespread residential zone in Rockland.

Minimum frontage along the street will drop to 50 feet for all of those residential zones. Minimum rear and side setbacks of buildings from neighboring property lines will also drop to 8 feet. Front setbacks from the road will be 10 feet in those zones.

Rockland Code Enforcement Officer John Root said there has been no analysis done on how many more homes could be built in the city under the new ordinance.

The City Council approved the ordinance despite the fact that opponents far outnumbered supporters who spoke during a public hearing last month.

Supporters say the ordinance will allow elderly residents to age in place by having in-law residences added to existing homes. They also maintain that the change will allow young people to stay in Rockland with the addition of affordable housing.