- Associated Press - Friday, January 24, 2014

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AP) - A plan to build an outdoor skating rink at New Hampshire’s Strawbery Banke Museum has been upheld by a judge after neighbors challenged the proposal.

The project calls for building a pond-like structure that would be open for three months in the winter. The rink would offer skating lessons, family and community skate times and pick-up hockey games.

Last fall, 11 neighbors challenged the Portsmouth zoning board’s decision to grant variances that would allow construction of the rink. They said they were concerned about noise and light pollution, and that the rink would bring more traffic to an already congested area. Officials at the history museum said a cooling machine would be in a sound-proof building.

In his order released this week, Rockingham County Superior Court Judge Kenneth McHugh said he couldn’t find that the board’s decision was either unlawful or unreasonable.

Jonathan Springer, a lawyer who represents the neighbors, said he hasn’t had the chance to review it with them yet.

The project still needs approval of the city Planning Board.

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