DOUGLASS TWP. A controversial Montgomery County mulch operation has agreed to relocate from a parcel of preserved farmland in Douglass Township, under a court settlement with the municipality and residents.

The township and residents sued Mountain Mulch last year, accusing the Sassamansville Road company of violating zoning laws by operating a large commercial business on preserved farmland.

The settlement, signed April 24 in Montgomery County Court, calls for the company to relocate and for the township to take no further legal action. Both sides also agreed to discuss the case "in a neutral manner" in public, the records show.

The company had been operating on the site since 2012, after buying the 53-acre parcel of farmland and getting 7.5 acres approved to stockpile mulch.

Neighbors soon said the company was overstepping that footprint, and complained of 20-foot piles of mulch chips, as well as noise and odors. Residents also expressed safety concerns after several mulch piles caught fire last year.