PHILLIPSBURG, N.J. -

A dilapidated building next to Tom’s Lunch Family Restaurant in downtown Phillipsburg is a health and safety hazard and must be cleaned up or torn down, borough officials said Tuesday night.

Kevin R. Duddy, the town’s construction official, said he recently toured the inside of the building at 475 S. Main St., and found it to be in “pretty much deplorable condition,” with a leaking roof, wet floors and a “choking smell of mold.”

“I was choking inside,” Duddy said. “I couldn’t stay long.”

Council president Todd M. Tersigni, whose father once owned the building and used it for a roofing and siding business, said something has to be done with the building because, he said, “I don’t think it’s fair to Tom’s Lunch.”

The restaurant, owned by the Kounoupis family, has been a mainstay on Main Street for more than 60 years, serving up long time favorites like homemade sausage and gravy over biscuits.

Tersigni, who is in the construction business, said of the structure, “I don’t think any good is going to come out of it. I think it should come down.”

Council decided to notify the owners, identified as Empire TF2 Jersey Holdings LLC, that they have 30 days to clean up the building and remove the mold or the township will hire someone to tear it down, at the owner’s expense.

If the bill is not paid, a lien will be placed on the property, said Richard Wenner, the town attorney.

Kevin R. Duddy, at the podium, updates council on the poor condition of the abandoned building