Massachusetts has engaged in a fifty- year experiment in overriding local zoning to create affordable housing in the suburbs. Studying suburbs as sites of persistent resistance, this work interrogates a local decision- making process to reveal how structures and gaps in the law help to maintain, rather than challenge, the exclusionary status quo. Analysis is based on five years of observations of public hearings across four Boston suburbs. I argue that this decision- making process is characterized by participants’ use of narratives and logics to resist, make sense of, and adapt to the law. Further, although the eventual decision is almost always to build housing, this study reveals a structural similarity between zoning and the law as well as a cultural process of sense- making that leads to minimal compliance and a reassertion of the local power over regional housing needs.