MIDDLE ISLAND - Homeowners in a Middle Island community are breathing easier after a settlement was reached to address a 30-foot pile of mulch near their properties.

Residents along Park Lane say the smell of the mulch at adjacent Swezey Farm Nursery is enough to keep them indoors.

"If you had a barbecue outside, you had to hurry up and make it and go back inside," says retired resident Joe Gerstner. He says the stench kept him from enjoying the pond he built in his yard.

After years of neighbor complaints, the Town of Brookhaven took Swezey Farm Nursery to court, and a settlement was reached last week. The nursery will be required to get rid of the mulch, along with tires and other debris over the next three years. The town also now has the right to inspect the property quarterly.

Neighbors are hoping that Brookhaven officials stay on top of the cleanup.

"I just really hope the town follows up on the settlement to make sure they're getting mulch out of there, because that's what stinks," says neighbor Gary Biscardi.

Town Supervsior Ed Romaine says Brookhaven will be following up with Swezey Farm Nursery, and adds that the town has the right to shut the operation down if it doesn't comply with the terms of the settlement.

An attorney for Swezey Farm says its owners think the settlement is fair and reasonable.