Committee will map out plan for 70-acre parcel.

TRURO — The town has finally secured the Walsh property, acquiring the land through a “friendly taking” last week.

The nearly 70 acres of largely undeveloped hilly land south and east of the Truro Central School still went through for the negotiated $5.1 million price previously agreed upon, but the taking was done because of issues with settling the estate of one of the late owners.

Voters approved the purchase last year, but one of the owners died in Puerto Rico, where natural disasters have delayed his probate process.

The town faced financial penalties if it could not close the deal by the summer, so friendly taking seemed the quickest option. The Walsh family approved the taking, according to town officials, and the deeds for the property off Walsh Way were officially recorded Friday.

“A friendly taking was the best route to achieve this,” Select Board Member Robert Weinstein said.

When the property came on the market, it was a rare opportunity for the town to pick up such a large swath of land.

“It’s one of the last two big parcels left in town,” Town Manager Rae Ann Palmer said.

There were concerns over what could happen if the land was scooped up by a private developer.

"One of the biggest fears was it would be developed into a mega-mansion and that would be the end of that," Select Board Chairwoman Janet Worthington said.

What will become of the land remains to be seen. As part of last year's town meeting approval, the town vowed to create a committee to come up with a plan for the property.

“(The committee) will do the research and develop a plan to go back to town meeting,” Palmer said.

The town is soliciting applications from people interested in serving on the committee, Palmer said. She said development of a plan would probably take at least a year.

“It’s the beginning of a long process,” said Susan Areson, a member of the Select Board, which is the appointing authority for the 15-member committee.

Because of the conservation trust’s involvement, some of the land will end up in conservation. A plethora of other options, including open space, recreation and housing, exist for the rest of the property.

“I think you’ll probably end up seeing a mix of those,” Palmer said.

A study will be done to see what the property can support, officials said. 

The acquisition has been in the works for a while. It first came to the town's attention when the trust learned the family was considering selling the property.

“I’m delighted that town meeting voted to authorize and fund the purchase,” Weinstein said. “It will be put to good use.”