Central to the dispute was whether or not people who access public benefits, services from social service agencies or care from the UVM Medical Center were members of the general public. The bylaws stipulate that hotels and motels must make rooms available to members of the general public. The Shelburne DRB agreed with CHT’s assertion that they were, writing:
"There is no question that Harbor Place's clientele consists of members of the general public who are in need of an affordable place to stay on a temporary basis while looking for permanent housing or recuperating from a medical condition or disability. CHT's decision to pursue a particular market, a subset of the general public, does not mean that Harbor Place fails or refuses to offer transient lodging accommodations to the general public.
…The Bylaws require that motels offer transient lodging accommodations to the general public, without unlawful discrimination, but do not prevent motels from appealing to particular segments of the general public for business, particularly if the hotel/motel industry underserves that segment of the general public."