Capital Gains Recycling co-owner Dylan Pruitt said Herculaneum city officials are forcing the business out of the city because of a flap he had with the neighboring Amvets Post 42.
Herculaneum city officials and Amvets Post 42 officials did not respond to requests for comment.
Pruitt, 27, of House Springs said he and co-owner Jamie Trainor opened the business at 686 Joachim Ave. in 2019 and purchased business licenses from the city in 2019 and 2020.
When their license came up for renewal in the fall of 2021, however, city officials told them they were not in a commercially zoned area and could not renew the license, Pruitt said.
“They just randomly told me it’s residential in November,” he said. “They’re telling me our property is in a residential area.
“Our business license was up for renewal in October. We’ve been technically operating without a business license since October.”
Pruitt believes his troubles with the city began when he objected to patrons of Amvets Post 42, 690 Joachim Ave., parking on his lot.
“They were blocking things,” he said.
Pruitt said he thinks Amvets members instigated the problem by complaining about the business to Herculaneum officials.
He said the city has provided no documentation to show his property is zoned residential.
“They’re blaming a fire at City Hall that damaged records,” he said. “They have not shown us any paperwork backing up anything.”
Pruitt said he looked into the property’s history and found it had been zoned commercial long before he and Trainor bought it.
“I’ve gotten more information from the county and since the late 1990s, the property has always been assessed commercial,” he said.
Pruitt said he contacted two prior owners of the property who told him they had no trouble obtaining business licenses from Herculaneum when they operated businesses there.
One of the prior property owners, Tim Myers of the De Soto area, backed up Pruitt’s assertions and said he even tried to get the property rezoned residential while he owned it, but city officials denied his request.
“I owned it from 1998 and had it for 11 or 12 years,” Myers said. “It was always zoned commercial.
“ In 2004 or 2005, my wife and I tried to get it zoned residential to be able to turn it into a duplex.
“The city said it was commercial and had to remain that.”
Myers said he used one of the buildings on the property as the administration center for his construction business and the other as a car wash.
“I always had to have a business license to be there,” Myers said.
Pruitt said all he and Trainor can do at this point is try to find somewhere else to operate Capital Gains Recycling.
“Now, they’re telling us to stop our business or move,” Pruitt said. “None of this is OK.”